General Motors has announced plans to close three assembly plants, one in Michigan, Ohio and Ontario before the end of 2019.
I can not stop thinking about the launch of Chevrolet Volt.
This machine has been my life for a few months. I covered after the bankruptcy of General Motors for the Detroit Free Press – chronicle of one company all day, every day. Sometimes all night. That's how important GM was our city.
In December 2010, I went to snowy New Jersey to see the real estate agent buy the first Volt. The people I met along the way were scattered in their expectations on the car. "Futuristic". "A Comeback kid." "Signal". "Prem & # 39; er car General Motors".
Volt, an electric car with a backup engine for long trips, had to revive GM. Show the world, Detroit can create revolutionary technology to compete with Asian automakers to produce something other than gas-guzzling SUVs. Prove government-backed bailout worth.
In many respects, the Volt was also to save Detroit. the last plant of the company under the Motor City was to build a car.
the most storied American manufacturer will use the US working to create a new type of American car.
This dream is over now, most likely, forever.
"Return to work"
On Monday, GM launched plans to close five plants, including a plant in Detroit, which built the Chevy plant and Ohio, which built compact car Chevy Cruze. He will kill these cars, and a few others, after the assembly lines shut down.Thousands American workers may lose their jobs, with factories closing and from parts suppliers, transport workers, etc., whose jobs support assembly plants.
We know what it is in this country. We have seen this before.
Just ask American workers who voted for President Donald Trump in 2016 elections. Or take my word for it: I asked them myself, again and again, as a political reporter covering the Ohio during the campaign.
Trump promised to return to work when nobody else was not ready. He acted as the economy struggles when other policies (and the fact that verification of journalists, including this one) have touted the low level of unemployment. Moreover, he realized, the workers felt despair when their new job does not pay as they are old. The fear they felt when they thought a fresh start in their 60s.
Trump won Michigan, in part due to those workers. He won by a landslide Ohio for the same reason. Trumbull has voted Democratic in almost every election since 1928. In 2016 District Trump supported.
Now Trumbull lose Automobile Plant.
This is a problem for Trump. Currently, he Channeling the anger, the kind staff of anger related to 2016.
"They better damn well open a new plant there very quickly," said Trump in the Wall Street Journal on Monday, referring to the Lordstown, Ohio factory closure. "I told them:" You play around with the wrong person. "
What happens when the workers from their jobs?
More General Motors:
General Motors to close Detroit, Ohio, Canada plant
Hamtramck GM plant closing reopens the old debate in Detroit
Missed targets and new electric car
After all, Americans do not want small cars. Or, as gas prices dropped, electric.
When I covered the GM's, then CEO Dan Akerson said he wants the company to build more than 100.000 Chevy Volts a year. The company missed the goal from the very beginning; privately, GM's staff admitted that it was never realistic. In the US sales last year, barely cleared N 20000.
"There's no scenario in which Volt, dear, as it may be, will make a material contribution to the fate of GM for many years", writes in his book 2010 Steven Rattner, the former head of auto target group of the Obama administration, " overhaul ". Even the fact that the severe prognosis was too generous.
GM now has a new electric car Chevy Bolt, built in the northern suburbs of Detroit. In a sense, it keeps alive the dream of the Volt began.
Bolt is not enough backup engine Volt was. GM engineers believed that the engine will help consumers to traditional cars take the electric car.
As it turned out, the traditional car buyers never intended to buy the Volt, period. In addition, the bolt can travel up to 238 miles on electric power, so that you are less likely to need a motor. Nevertheless, GM sold only 23 000 bolts last year.
Innovations in the US auto industry took a different direction, so the Lake Orion plant is planned to produce an unmanned vehicle in the next year. Once again, GM is betting on American workers can make a new kind of American car.
Wall Street analysts say, GM is on the right track – and it is very important to maintain the company profitable and keep it at a healthy stock price. This is the ultimate work of CEO Mary Barra. On Monday, hugging hard, painful spending cuts, rather than the preservation of historic plants and avoid layoffs.
Pre-bankruptcy GM has not changed the strategy quickly dismiss favorite, but-musty ideas quickly. Barr wants to be GM to be different. She wants to stay around.
Redeeming the story?
Durability – the preservation of the American icon – has always been part of GM's turnover. But it's more than that.
"Work spirit for me," said GM Mark Reuss in early 2010, when I worked at the Automotive News.
Reiss, who then ran the company's activities in North America, which endured more than its share of suffering in GM. His father, a former GM president Lloyd Reuss, was fired in 1992 coup hall meetings. Mark Reuss has remained with the company, only to see it continue to hang out and, finally, to require public financial assistance to keep from closing in 2009.
After the automaker emerged from bankruptcy this year, Mark Reuss under the & # 39; went to the ruins of the factory complex Buick City in Flint with his son. Lloyd Reuss Buick ran away, and Mark Reuss began his car & # 39; career there.
The youngest Royce asked, "Why did this happen, Dad?"
"I finally turned to his son and said:" It happened because we can not compete, "Royce said its audience, clogging. "I never thought that these words may come out of my mouth."
For Reiss, at least GM turnaround story offered a chance to redeem. In order to provide a livelihood for American workers, construction vehicles, they can be proud. In order to use the company to invest in the prosperity of the American city.
Perhaps we should expect the dismissal of thousands of American workers. But it was not part of the plan.
Chris Thompson & # 39; is the winner of the Pulitzer Prize journalist who serves as the US Department of Education editor today. Previously, she covered the auto industry for the Detroit Free Press and politics for The Cincinnati Enquirer.
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