General Motors committed to investing $1.8 billion at plants in six states and to creating 700 new jobs, as the largest US automaker looks to ward off months of criticism by the US President Donald Trump.
The investment in Orion township is expected to create 400 new jobs. "This is a significant investment in GM's electrification future".
U.S. Sherrod Brown, a Cleveland Democrat, said in a statement: "Our first priority is pushing GM to do the right thing and reinvest in the Lordstown plant".
"General Motors is committed to supporting USA manufacturing, including the great states of OH and Michigan", Barra said. During the weekend, Trump demanded that GM reopen the plant or sell it, criticized the local union leader and expressed frustration with CEO Mary Barra. However, according to the Detroit Free Press, a GM spokesman said the $1.8 billion investment will unfold over the next two to three years, and this includes the investment in Orion. In November 2018, GM made a decision to cut production and idle major plants like the one in Lordstown, Ohio, which ceased production just this month.
Reuters reported on Thursday about GM's investment plans for the plant.
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GM officials said the announcement was planned well before Trump's series of angry GM tweets that started on Saturday. The facility is now also used to convert Bolts into autonomous cars for GM's Cruse division and produce Chevy Sonic subcompacts'. "The UAW will help", said the President during a campaign stop in Lima, Ohio Wednesday.
Production of the new electric vehicle had been planned for a site outside of the U.S., but GM opted to build it at the Orion plant for a number of reasons.
Barra has said that she sees no further layoffs or plant closures through the end of 2020.
In November, GM shuttered five United States plants, including auto assembly plants in MI and OH as part of a 15 per cent cut in its workforce worldwide - cutting around 14,000 employees - which drew Trump's Twitter wrath. GM did not disclose the name of the new EV model or the timing of production.
The new electric vehicle had been slated for production outside of the U.S. The company wouldn't comment on Trump but said the announcement has been in the works for weeks.
Barra vigorously defended GM's United States investments during the announcement, but UAW leaders also told Barra and the Orion factory workers that the union will hold GM accountable. "We would consider any that are truly viable business opportunities".