Currently reading: General Motors to close seven factories, axe 15% of workforce
US firm, which exited UK market in 2017, says cost-cutting measures are part of a restructure to focus on autonomous and electric cars

General Motors is planning to shut seven factories and shed 15% of its workforce as part of a major restructure that will also involve shifting investment into developing autonomous and electric vehicles.

The US firm has struggled with falling sales in recent years prompting a major revamp, which has included selling Vauxhall and Opel, its British and European brands, to the PSA Group. GM had previously axed Chevrolet's UK arm in 2014.

In North America, GM's sales have been hit hard by falling demand for saloon cars, and the firm is set to follow rival Ford’s lead in culling most of its saloon models to put greater emphasis on SUVs and pick-up trucks. According to reports, the Chevrolet Cruze and Impala, Cadillac CT6, Buick LaCrosse and Chevrolet Volt hybrid will all be axed.

GM has now announced it is planning to close five North American plants by the end of 2019: assembly facilities in Detroit, Ohio and Ontario, Canada; and transmission factories in Michigan and Maryland. It will shut two unnamed plants outside North America, in addition to the previously announced closure of a plant in Korea.

As part of a ‘staffing transformation’, the firm is also aiming to reduce its workforce by around 15% – about 18,000 jobs – which it says will include cutting 25% of its executive staff. GM expects the move to reduce costs by around £3.5 billion.

Having developed new vehicle platforms, GM says that future investment will be focused on developing its next-generation battery-electric vehicles.

Read more

Picture special: General Motors' greatest hits

Meet the Brit who designs GM pick-ups

Insight: why the PSA Group bought Vauxhall and Opel

James Attwood

James Attwood, digital editor
Title: Acting magazine editor

James is Autocar's acting magazine editor. Having served in that role since June 2023, he is in charge of the day-to-day running of the world's oldest car magazine, and regularly interviews some of the biggest names in the industry to secure news and features, such as his world exclusive look into production of Volkswagen currywurst. Really.

Before first joining Autocar in 2017, James spent more than a decade in motorsport journalist, working on Autosport,, F1 Racing and Motorsport News, covering everything from club rallying to top-level international events. He also spent 18 months running Move Electric, Haymarket's e-mobility title, where he developed knowledge of the e-bike and e-scooter markets. 

Join the debate

Add a comment…
disco.stu 27 November 2018

Seven-year finance maybe wasn't a good idea

Maybe pushing customers into ever-longer finance agreements wasn't such a good idea. Six- and seven-year terms are now considered normal on ever-more expensive cars and trucks in the US, which has inevitably hammered their repeat customer rate (same applies to Ford, Chrysler and others), thereby slashing demand for new cars.

The same principle is in evidence here, to a lesser degree but still significant, as manufacturers push more and more PCP and contract hire deals out to 48 months rather than 36 months. It might help get deals now but it will come back to bite in three years' time.

We'll start to see 60-month PCP and CH offers popping up in the UK shortly – it's stupid but inevitable. But it's easier for the industry to just blame Brexit instead.


ianp55 27 November 2018

GM Factory Closures

Not really surprised that these factories are being closed.many of them are running at reduced capacity and the market for traditional saloons has dropped by nearly 60% in the past decade. Ford no longer sell a smaller saloon than the Fusion (Mondeo) and are concentrating on SUV's & Trucks so it's a predictable trend that the General is following. GM is a shadow of what it was thirty years ago,apart from automobiles all the rest has been sold off or closed down.

By the way which Korean plant has been closed?

Neil2129 27 November 2018


ianp55 wrote:

By the way which Korean plant has been closed?

Kunsan (sometimes written Gunsan) has closed. Ironically it was the newest of GM Korea's plants, opened in 1997 for production of the Daewoo J100 Nubira. It was most recently producing Cruze and Orlando.

xxxx 27 November 2018

Who cares?

Well Tesla do, only employed a few thousand 10 years ago they've now a combined workforce of 40,000+ and make 250,000+ cars a year.

These times are a changing.