What's Next For GM?

Posted: Dec 10 2018, 11:41am CST | by , in Cars & Vehicles


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What's Next for GM?
Image: GM

What happens when a giant of the automotive world needs to shut down their factories?

General Motors, or GM, has been one of the most prominent companies in the automotive world for decades and is continually looking toward the future. Unfortunately for thousands of factory workers, that future means quite a few plants have been shuttered or closed down entirely as part of GM's strategic plan. What does this say about GM, and what is next for the automotive giant?

Closures and Layoffs

GM's plant in Lordstown, Ohio, was responsible for manufacturing the Chevy Cruze, among other models. Waning sales of the Cruze led the company to shutter the factory — it hasn't been abandoned, simply taken offline with no plans to use it to produce any GM vehicles. This is one of five factories that have been slated for closure.

The Lordstown factory employed more than 1,600 people who have all now lost their jobs. This loss will cascade into the community as a lack of income, and spending power will negatively impact local businesses as well. While this loss isn't as devastating as the plant closures of 1998 in the region that sparked the Bring It Home campaign, there are still more than a thousand trained and talented individuals that are out of work now because of GM's decision.

What happened to GM, which up until recently was considered one of the best automotive companies to work for?

The Move Toward Commercial Fleets

Part of this shift is due to a change in perspective. GM has decided to try to take on Ford by offering commercial fleet vehicles. These come in the form of its medium-duty Silverado trucks, which can be outfitted for deliveries, towing or have buckets attached to them. Instead of refitting existing plants or moving the displaced workers to new facilities, GM simply laid them off. Ford, its biggest competitor in the commercial fleet sector, is relocating its workers to busier plants instead of laying them off.

Ford isn't worried about this new competition, though. It has no plans to change its current model to counter the additional competition from GM, but this might change if auto sales in the U.S. continue to weaken.

What's Next for GM?

What does this change and these closures mean for GM as a whole? It's too early to tell. GM has shuttered factories before, only to retool them for a new car model a couple of years later. Consumers are buying more SUVs and trucks right now than passenger cars, which GM and other car manufacturers need to compensate for. With that in mind, this restructuring makes sense, even if it's bad for the 15,000 workers who just lost their jobs.

Shifting its focus to SUVs and commercial fleet vehicles might seem like a good business decision for GM, but the long-term impact of this change remains to be seen. It's a significant change, but it could work out for the automotive giant in the long run. We can hope it decides to retool the Lordstown plant into something better for the future.

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/56" rel="author">Scott Huntington</a>
Scott Huntington is a writer and journalist from Harrisburg PA who covered movies, tech, cars, and more. Check out his blog Off The Throttle or follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington.




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