Jump to content
CaddyInfo Cadillac Forum

The General


Recommended Posts

GM Plans to Cut 25,000 U.S. Jobs by 2008

Tue Jun 7, 2:25 PM

Richard Wagoner, chairman and CEO of General Motors, speaks at the Annual Meeting of Stockholders in Wilmington, Del., Tuesday, June 7, 2005. General Motors plans to eliminate 25,000 jobs in the United States by 2008 and to close plants as part of a strategy to revive its struggling North American operations. (AP Photo/Coke Whitworth)

WILMINGTON, Del. - General Motors Corp. plans to eliminate 25,000 manufacturing jobs in the United States by 2008 and close plants as part of a strategy to revive North American business at the world's largest automaker, its chairman said on Tuesday.

Speaking to shareholders at GM's 97th annual shareholder meeting in Delaware, Chairman and Chief Executive Rick Wagoner said the capacity and job cuts should generate annual savings of roughly $2.5 billion. GM now employs 111,000 hourly workers in the United States.

Wagoner revealed the cutbacks as he laid out a four-step strategy to invigorate GM's North American operations, its biggest and most troubling part. Already this year, GM's U.S. market share has fallen from 27 percent a year ago to 25.4 percent, much of the loss at the expense of Asian automakers such as Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co.

Wagoner focused on four priorities: increasing spending on new cars and trucks; clarifying the role of each of GM's eight brands; intensifying efforts to reduce costs and improve quality; and continuing to search for ways to reduce skyrocketing health care expenses.

He noted that health-care expenses add $1,500 to the cost of each GM vehicle. This puts GM at a "significant disadvantage versus foreign-based competitors," Wagoner said.

General Motors shares rose 53 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $30.95 in late morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange. GM's shares have tumbled to their lowest price in more than a decade, and Fitch Ratings and Standard and Poor's Ratings Services both reduced the company's bond rating to "junk" status last month.

Billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian's offer to purchase 28 million GM shares at $31 apiece, boosting his stake to about 9 percent from 4 percent, expires later today.

Wagoner said it was vital for the company to cut costs by improving efficiency at its manufacturing plants. He said plant closings and idlings in recent months will reduce assembly capacity in North America from 6 million in 2002 to 5 million by the end of this year.

GM spokesman Edd Snyder said the company wouldn't release further details Tuesday about which plants might be closed.

"What was contained in the speech is what we have right now," Snyder said.

Messages were left Tuesday morning with the United Auto Workers.

GM already has closed or discontinued production at several facilities this year. The company shut a factory in Linden, N.J., in April and a factory in Baltimore in May, affecting around 2,000 employees. The company also closed two plants in Lansing, Mich., last month, although those 3,500 employees are expected to find work at other GM facilities in the city.

"Let me say up front that our absolute top priority is to get our largest business unit back to profitability as soon as possible," Wagoner said.

Part of that bid involves negotiating with the UAW and other unions, discussions that are ongoing.

Wagoner said the talks, which he described as intense, have focused on a cooperative approach to significantly reduce GM's health care costs. GM's health care tab for its 1.1 million current and former workers and their families is more than $5 billion a year and rising.

"We have not reached an agreement at this time, and to be honest, I'm not 100 percent that we will," Wagoner said of the ongoing talks with its unions. "But all parties are working hard on it, in the spirit of addressing a huge risk to our collective futures while providing greater security and good benefits for our employees."

To date, the UAW has indicated it won't reopen its contract, which expires in 2007, and agree to pick up a larger share of soaring health care costs.

What happens if GM can't reach an agreement with the UAW promptly?

"I don't believe it serves a useful purpose to speculate on that," said Wagoner, the CEO since 2000 and chairman since 2003.

"Let me just emphasize our very strongly preferred approach is to do this in cooperation with the UAW because we're convinced that's the best way for our employees, stockholders and all our constituents," he said.

Aside from growing health care and pension costs, GM has had lackluster sales lately of its highly profitable trucks and sport utility vehicles, which have been hurt by high fuel prices.

GM's sales were down 5 percent in the first five months of the year, and the automaker reported a $1.1 billion loss in the first quarter.

Wagoner said another part of the company's strategy is making GM's eight brands more distinct from each other. Chevrolet and Cadillac will continue to have full vehicle lineups, he said, but the company's other six brands - GMC, Pontiac, Buick, Saturn, Saab and Hummer - will be more tightly focused on niche markets.

"In some cases, such as Pontiac and Buick, it will mean fewer but stronger entries in the future," Wagoner said.

Wagoner said the company also plans to put less emphasis on incentives and focus more effort on selling GM vehicles in top markets like New York, Miami and Los Angeles.


AP Auto Writer Dee-Ann Durbin in Detroit contributed to this report.


On the Net,

General Motors Corp.: http://www.gm.com

If you really want to make people safe drivers again then simply remove all the safety features from cars. No more seat belts, ABS brakes, traction control, air bags or stability control. No more anything. You'll see how quickly people will slow down and once again learn to drive like "normal" humans.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"skyrocketing health care expenses." I don't get it on this item. Not to say health care isn't costly but the provider charges X for the coverage. That covers the costs of coverage AND nets the provider a profit. If GM covered their own, pay for actual costs, sans profit, it would seem to be less costly. All the "Covered" Hourly Workers don't need services every day/week/month, BUT the premium is paid out none the less. Extended warranty or pay as you go?


Link to comment
Share on other sites

You are absolutely right rek; they should cover their own... they actually do in some ways... up here we have "Motors Insurance" for employees and their families for auto insurance. The insurance profits aren't tied to the rest though... different investment on the stock market... hmmm...

What they don't say is that the average worker is aging in the US (as well as Canada)... yes they can blame everything they want; right down to the death of the late Pope but the reality is that the working age pool is shrinking because we aren't having world wars (to create baby-boomers) and we aren't repopulating our western world to cover all our labour requirements in many industries.

Retirement will probably look after 80% of that number. Part-time workers will fill their shoes and the Union will insist they are looked after accordingly as well.

I may be right out to lunch on this one but I get frustrated when Corporate America (or Canada for that matter) tries to treat the public as a stupid entity. Watch the GM share price... if it drops in half, worry... until then; keep saving for that brand-new CTS-V12 (coming soon I bet)...

Mike P

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...