GM chief grilled by lawmakers over US production cuts, Mexico investment

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General Motors Chief Executive Mary Barra came under harsh criticism from members of Congress from MI on Thursday for building a new vehicle in Mexico while ending production at five North American assembly plants and cutting almost 15,000 jobs.

Asked if any more USA facilities were at risk of closing, Barra said GM "looked at what steps we needed to take to strengthen the company ..."

"It's been very profitable to leave the United States and go to Mexico", Levin said of GM's expanded production of trucks and SUVs in Mexico.

A week after announcing huge job cuts and factory closures that enraged U.S. President Donald Trump, GM's CEO met members of Congress from OH and Maryland on December 5. Brown and Portman said they argued for producing a different product in Lordstown, such as one of the new lines of electric vehicles GM has announced it is rolling out. Others have pointed out that the U.S. plants are being eliminated after GM has expanded in Mexico, less than a decade after American taxpayers bailed out the bankrupt 'old GM'.

"I understand this is something that impacts the country and I understand that there is a lot of emotion and concern about it", Barra said.

Barra defended the company's decision to overhaul its production and facilities in an exclusive interview with FOX Business' Edward Lawrence while adding that the company is focused is on the workers and ensuring that GM remains a leader in the rapidly changing auto industry.

Portman said he spoke to fellow Republican Trump on Wednesday about GM.

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She cast the decision to downsize as critical to keep GM competitive.

GM is ending production at its Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant next year, as well as at its Warren Transmission plant in suburban Detroit, along with plants in Ohio, Maryland and Canada and eliminating about 8,000 salaried positions.

John Wise, a former GM engineer and now LOCI Chairman, said the automaker's cutbacks stems more from a cultural issue rather than a business or economic decision.

"We're not asking for charity".

Barra is in Washington for meetings with lawmakers, including Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer as well as lawmakers from OH and Maryland. She was also expected to meet with lawmakers from MI on Thursday, among other meetings.

Trump also said new auto tariffs were being studied, asserting, without evidence, that they could prevent job cuts such as those planned by GM.

The UAW has objected to GM's plan to end production in 2019 at four US plants, saying it violates commitments made during contract talks in 2015.

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