After General Motors layoffs, more bumps ahead for U.S. auto industry
The president said the jobs were "all coming back," but there's more rough road ahead for U.S. auto industry, analysts warn.
"If I'm elected, you won't lose one plant. You’ll have plants coming into this country," then-candidate Donald Trump said at a campaign rally in Warren, Michigan, in October, 2016. "You’re going to have jobs again, you won’t lose one plant. I promise you. I promise you.”
And at a rally in Youngstown, Ohio, in July of last year, the president vowed to bring more factory jobs back to the area.
"They're all coming back," he told the crowd. "Don't sell your house . . . We're going to fill up those factories or rip them down and build new ones."
On Monday, General Motors announced it was cutting 14,700 jobs in North America — including several thousand in Ohio and Michigan. That's on top of thousands of jobs the company had already trimmed over the past two years.
Auto industry analysts told NBC News more industry downsizing is likely — and Trump's trade policies aren't helping.
"The automotive market has been shifting away from conventional sedans and more to utility vehicles. It's no longer a U.S. phenomenon, it's true in markets around the world. And GM is the one with the most excess capacity in sedans," said Bernard Swiecki, assistant director of the industry, labor and economics group at the Center for Automotive Research. Trump's tariffs on steel and aluminum, meanwhile, are making the "razor thin" profits on sedans even smaller, he said.
GM has estimated those tariffs have cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars, but downplayed their role in the cuts. Ford - which announced last month it would be making an unspecified number of cuts as part of a "redesign" of the company — says the tariffs have cost the company $1 billion so far.
Robert E. Scott, a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute, said despite GM's assertions to the contrary, the company is likely trying to protect itself against a future economic downturn.