GM will spend $1 billion to expand vehicle production in the United States, an investment that will allow the company to add or keep 1,500 jobs, executives said Tuesday. It’s an announcement, years in the making, that comes as President-elect Donald Trump ratchets up pressure on automakers to build in the United States.
The company will also shift certain production and supplier jobs to Michigan from Mexico, a move that is expected to create more than 500 jobs in the United States. A spokeswoman declined to specify how many jobs were new and how many would move from Mexico.
The company expects to release more information about individual investment projects throughout the year.
In December, GM announced that it would cut roughly 3,300 jobs at three U.S. plants this year because of slowing demand for cars.
Tuesday’s announcement follows Trump’s criticism of GM and other automakers for building vehicles in Mexico that they then sell in the United States. Trump has threatened to impose a 35 percent tariff on cars brought to the United States for sale, and repeated that position Monday in an interview with a German newspaper.
Officials at GM and other companies have said their recent investment announcements were years in the making and not the result of Trump’s criticism, but their timing gives the incoming administration the opportunity to take credit. (GM chief executive Mary Barra is one of Trump’s economic advisers.)
In recent weeks, Fiat Chrysler also revealed plans to invest $1 billion domestically. Ford announced plans to abandon a $1.6 billion production facility in Mexico and invest $700 million to expand manufacturing in the United States. Toyota said it will invest $10 billion in the United States over the next five years.
But the GM investment announced Tuesday also demonstrates that most future job growth is unlikely to benefit manufacturing workers who helped propel Trump to office. GM plans to add 5,000 jobs in the next two to three years — all of them salaried positions working in finance or engineering roles.
Indeed, the company said it has created 25,000 jobs in the United States over the past four years, including 19,000 professional, salaried positions and 6,000 hourly manufacturing positions.
As Brett Smith, an analyst at the Center for Automotive Research, told my colleague Danielle Paquette earlier this month, automobile companies are primarily investing in high-tech facilities in the United States that will develop and produce the next generation of more technologically advanced vehicles.
“That will ultimately mean fewer jobs,” Smith said. “The people will have to keep learning throughout their careers. It won’t be like the old days, when you do the same thing for 40 years.”
Read more from The Washington Post’s Innovation section.