General Motors Shutters Lordstown Factory After 52 Years

March 6, 2019, 10:46 PM UTC

General Motors closed down its Lordstown, Ohio manufacturing facility, with the plant’s last Chevy Cruze rolling off the assembly line Wednesday afternoon, after 52 years of auto production.

GM is shuttering the Lordstown plant as part of a restructuring effort by CEO Mary Barra to improve the company’s financial position. The company is eliminating 1,700 hourly jobs at the facility, one of five auto-manufacturing plants that it is planning to shut down by early 2020.

Last year, Barra announced a restructuring plan that would mean the loss of as many as 14,000 workers to help the company focus on making trucks, SUVs and electric vehicles. The Lordstown plant produced Chevy Cruze sedans, which have been in less demand among consumers.

Barra’s restructuring plan has drawn criticism from the United Autoworker Union as well as President Trump. She also met with members of Congress in December to defend her plan to orient GM toward a changing market for automobiles.

According to the Associated Press, the mood inside the Lordstown plant was somber Wednesday as workers took photos of the last Cruze manufactured at the facility, which has made the Chevy sedan since 2011. GM plans to discontinue sales of the Cruze in the United States.

“It’s frustrating,” Jeff Nance, an employee at Lordstown for 17 years, told the AP. “I’m angry and bitter. Watching that last car go by was a kick in the gut.”

GM’s stock closed down 61 cents a share, or 1.6%, at $38.67 a share Wednesday.

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