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GM won't move car production from Mexico despite Trump's criticism

By Allen Cone
GM won't move car production from Mexico despite Trump's criticism
General Motors CEO Mary Barra speaks to reporters Sunday after the introduction of the 2018 GMC Terrain at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Detroit. She said plans to build the Chevy Cruze hatchback in Mexico can't be easily scrapped because they have been in place for a number of years. Photo by Tannen Maury/Eurpean Pressphoto Agency

DETROIT, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- General Motors won't move production of the Chevrolet Cruze hatchback to the United States from Mexico despite criticism by President-elect Donald Trump, the automaker's CEO said.

Mary Barra, speaking to reporters Sunday on the day before the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, said decisions on production can't be easily changed because they are made years in advance.

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"This is a long-lead business with high capital-intensive investments, decisions that were made two, three and four years ago," Barra said. "When you look at the Cruze sedan, the Cruze sedan for U.S. consumption is being built here."

GM builds Cruze sedans at its factory in Lordstown, Ohio, and the hatchback is built in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico. Barra noted that less than 5 percent of the Cruze cars sold in the United States annually are made in Mexico, about 4,500.

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Amid decreasing sales, GM plans to cancel a shift in the Lordstown plant with 12,000 job losses.

The No. 1 U.S. vehicle maker has spent $5 billion on the Mexican investment since it began in 2012.

The plant drew the ire of Trump on Twitter last week. He posted: "General Motors is sending Mexican made model of Chevy Cruze to U.S. car dealers-tax free across border. Make in U.S.A. or pay big border tax!"

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Trump has proposed a tax or tariff of 35 percent on goods by companies that shift production abroad,

The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that Barra called the president-elect after his tweet and had a "cordial" conversation with him.

"It's safe to assume a company of our size, with the significance and the number of jobs General Motors provides in the United States, that our staff is right there talking to his staff," she told reporters.

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Barra is part of an economic policy group that will advise Trump.

"When you really look at some of the things the president-elect has said, we have much more in common than we have different," Barra said.

Last week, Trump also criticized Toyota Motor Corp., a Japanese company, for plans to build Corollas for the United States at a new plant in Mexico. And he praised Ford Motor Co., for scrapping its plans to build a new plant in Mexico.

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