Only a couple of short weeks after President-elect Donald Trump bashed General Motors for their factory outsourcing, the auto giant is announcing a new plan to invest more than $1 billion in the United States. According to a piece in the Wall Street Journal on Monday, GM will put the money into expanding their current U.S. factory operations, ultimately creating more than 1,000 new American jobs.
On January 3, Trump called GM out on Twitter for using Mexican labor to build some of its automobiles.
“General Motors is sending Mexican made model of Chevy Cruze to U.S. car dealers-tax free across border,” he wrote. “Make in U.S.A. or pay big border tax!”
Trump make another allusion to the carmaker last week in his press conference as he praised Ford and Chrysler for moving jobs back to the U.S. “I hope that General Motors will be following,” he said. “And I think they will be.”
It turns out he was right. In a statement to WSJ this week, GM general counsel Craig Glidden said that while the company didn’t base its decision on gaining favor with Trump, the carmaker was committed to building domestically.
“This is something we’ve been undertaking for some period of time,” Glidden said. “It’s really getting our story told in a way that is I think complete and fulsome.”
In other words, these companies don’t want to give Trump any credit, lest the American people start to believe that he has power over them. Perhaps a wise strategy, but there’s no denying that GM, Ford, and the rest of the U.S. manufacturing industry is keen to get on the president-elect’s good side. There is a patriotic economic movement happening in America right now, and GM knows as well as any other company that it would be unwise to land on the wrong side of that populism.
“As the U.S. manufacturing base increases its competitiveness, we are able to further increase our investment, resulting in more jobs for America and better results for our owners,” GM CEO Mary Barra said. “The U.S. is our home market and we are committed to growth that is good for our employees, dealers, and suppliers and supports our continued effort to drive shareholder value.”
Fact is, whether they were directly pressured by Trump or not, GM recognizes that things are about to be a lot different when it comes to the economic landscape. Their announcement is just one more domino falling into place. Soon, this movement will be unstoppable.
We may get tired of winning after all!