GM Investing $1 Billion in U.S. Plants

CBJ — General Motors plans to invest about $1 billion in its U.S. factories. Whether or not criticism by incoming U.S. President Donald Trump had any impact on the decision is not known, but it’s good news for American workers, regardless of how it came to be. Officials with the automaker have been adamant that the investment is strictly for business and not political reasons.

The investment will help GM create or retain more than 1,000 jobs, while the automaker also plans to tout other efforts to boost U.S. employment, including adding engineers.

GM has come under heavy criticism from Trump for building vehicles in Mexico, as have other automakers. On Jan. 3, the President-elect threatened to impose a “big border tax” on GM for making some of its Chevrolet Cruze compact cars in Mexico.

At a news conference last week, Trump cited recent U.S. investments by other automakers and said “General Motors will be following, and I think they will be.”

Trump, who campaigned hard on bringing manufacturing jobs back to the United States, said he would impose a border tax of 35% on German car companies’ vehicles imported to the U.S. market.

Earlier this month he criticized Toyota’s plans to move production of the Corolla to Mexico from Canada.

Auto sales have been rising since 2009 and hit a new record in 2016. Automakers have recently been touting American investments, but say the investments have not been in response to Trump.

Last week, Japan’s Toyota said it would invest $10 billion in the United States over the next five years, while Fiat Chrysler said it would invest $1 billion to modernize two plants in the Midwest, creating 2,000 jobs.

Ford announced this month it would cancel a planned $1.6 billion factory in Mexico and would invest $700 million at a Michigan plant.

GM, which has more than 40 manufacturing sites in the United States, last year announced $2.9 billion in U.S. investments.

If Trump isn’t having an effect on the auto industry, then one would have to assume it’s been nothing but a series of unexpected coincidences.