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GM's big jobs announcement is mostly repackaged news

Jan 17, 2017

Car companies are doing their public relations best to avert angry tweets by President-elect Donald Trump, who has been threatening steep tariffs on cars made in Mexico.

Today, General Motors announced it would invest $1 billion in U.S. plants and projects and create 7,000 U.S. jobs.  That appears to be a total of 1,500 "new and retained" jobs related to the billion-dollar investment: 450 jobs from in-sourcing truck axle work from Mexico, and 5,000 jobs primarily related to GM's decision in 2015 to in-source much of its IT operations to Warren, Michigan.

Predictably, the announcement was followed quickly by a tweet from President elect Donald Trump, "Thank you to General Motors and Walmart for starting the big jobs push back into the U.S.!"

"These were things that were in the works for some time, and they bundled everything together to make a big announcement," says Michelle Krebs, an analyst with Autotrader. "And this is the kind of money they spend most of the time when they redo plants and produce new models."

Krebs says she's seeing similar announcements by other car companies. "They've timed the announcements to get themselves out of the cross-hairs of Trump tweets," says Krebs.

Currently, General Motors has five plants in Mexico, and two in Canada.

She says automakers are likely to wait on any new investments in Mexico or Canada because they don't know what U.S. policy is going to be under Trump.

Trump has said he wants to get rid of NAFTA, the free trade agreement with the two countries.