Not a week seems to pass without some an automaker, foreign or domestic, making an unexpected round of concessions when it comes to Trump's ambitions to "Make it in the US."
And so, days after first Ford, then Fiat Chrysler announced major expansion plans in the US (to the partial detriment of Mexico) the latest automaker to respond to Trump's Twitter criticism is General Motors, which according to the WSJ, will announce this week plans to invest at least $1 billion across several U.S. factories "a move aimed at underlining its commitment to U.S. manufacturing jobs in the wake of President-elect Donald Trump’s criticism of the auto maker’s imports from Mexico."
The company will also announce that it will create more than 1,000 new jobs stemming from the investment but doesn’t plan to specify which of its factories are in line for more work.
The move comes days after Mr. Trump publicly ratcheted up pressure on the nation’s largest auto maker. During his press conference last week, the president-elect thanked Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles for recently announced U.S. investment plans that are expected to create a combined 2,700 jobs.
He then turned up the heat on GM to follow suit. “I hope that General Motors will be following. And I think they will be,” Mr. Trump said.
They did indeed, even if GM's response was largely predictable. Recall that GM CEO Mary Barro was appointed to Trump's Strategic and Policy Forum, which as a reminder "is composed of some of America’s most highly respected and successful business leaders, will be called upon to meet with the President frequently to share their specific experience and knowledge as the President implements his plan to bring back jobs and Make America Great Again."
It would look confusing if one of Trump's own economic policy advisors looked the other way when practicing what Trump is preaching.
On January 3, Trump launched the opening salvo in this brief but productive "negotiation", when he tweeted that “General Motors is sending Mexican made model of Chevy Cruze to U.S. car dealers-tax free across border. Make in U.S.A.or pay big border tax!.”
General Motors is sending Mexican made model of Chevy Cruze to U.S. car dealers-tax free across border. Make in U.S.A.or pay big border tax!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2017
GM picked the middle option: to invest money in the US, creating new jobs.
In keeping with the narrative proferred by other carmakers, in an interview with the WSJ, GM general counsel Craig Glidden declined to confirm specifics of the announcement but said any investment the company might disclose has been long planned and isn’t a response to pressure from Mr. Trump.
“This is something we’ve been undertaking for some period of time,” he said. “It’s really getting our story told in a way that is I think complete and fulsome.”