General Motors will lay off about 1,300 workers from two of its Michigan plants, according to WARN notices the company has filed with state regulators. But that’s not all.
GM’s beleaguered self-driving car subsidiary Cruise said Thursday that it was laying off roughly a quarter of its workforce, after months of turmoil and years of financial losses.
The job cuts will impact approximately 900 of the company’s full-time staffers, and mostly workers in commercial and corporate operations, according to a company statement shared on Cruise’s website.
The job cuts at GM’s Orion Assembly and Lansing Grand River Assembly, which will take place in the new year, come after the automaker said in October that it would be delaying electric pickup truck production into 2025.
The layoffs at GM’s Orion plant will affect 945 employees, while 369 employees will be cut from the Lansing assembly plant.
The Orion plant produced the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Bolt EUV crossover, and GM is planning to produce additional electric vehicles, namely the Chevrolet Silverado EV and GMC Sierra EV at the plant. But the company announced in October that it would be delaying the start of production, sealing the fate of workers while the plant remains idled.
GM said in October that the delay was not the result of the recent United Auto Workers’ strike, which was the longest US auto strike in 25 years.
CNN has reached out to the United Auto Workers union, which represents workers at the two plants, for comment.
“GM anticipates having job opportunities for all impacted team members per the provisions of the UAW-GM National Agreement. Lansing Grand River Assembly will continue producing the Cadillac CT4 and Cadillac CT5,” the company said in an emailed statement to CNN about the Lansing layoffs.
UAW members who were laid off at the Orion plant will “be offered other opportunities in Michigan, including positions at Factory ZERO in Detroit-Hamtramck. Orion Assembly salaried employees will also be placed in other internal opportunities in accordance with GM policy,” GM said.
The layoffs at GM reflect the growing uncertainty facing the electric vehicle market. Discounts for EVs have been increasing, according to Edmunds.com, as they remain unsold on dealer lots for longer than gas vehicles. That indicates a decline in demand in what was in recent years projected to be an up-and-coming market.
Other automakers have been cutting costs, as well. Ford in October said it would lay off 700 employees who build the F-150 Lightning, the electric-powered edition of its best-selling vehicle. The company said it will rotate the layoffs among three shifts at its Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, Michigan.
In October, a driverless Cruise vehicle hit a pedestrian in downtown San Francisco who had already been struck by another vehicle, and then dragged the pedestrian along the road for some 20 feet. In the wake of the incident, California regulators suspended Cruise’s driverless taxi testing permits. When revoking Cruise’s permits, the California Department of Motor Vehicles also accused the company of withholding information and video regarding the accident.
Shortly after that, Cruise voluntarily paused its operations across the country.
“We knew this day was coming, but that does not make it any less difficult —especially for those whose jobs are affected,” Mo ElShenawy, president and chief technology officer at Cruise, wrote in a memo to employees announcing the layoffs. The note added impacted employees will receive an email “in a few moments” letting them know whether they are “affected by this staffing reduction.”
ElShenawy added the the company has the goal of “simplifying and focusing our efforts to return with an exceptional service in one city to start with,” though he did not share further details on which city Cruise is planning on returning to once it resumes operations. The company operated cars in San Francisco, Phoenix, and Austin, Texas.
The laid-off employees will remain on payroll through February 12, the memo added, and are eligible for up to an additional eight weeks of severance pay, depending on how long they have been at the company.
In late November, GM said it was cutting spending on Cruise. “We expect the pace of Cruise expansion to be more deliberate when operations resume and spending will be substantially lower in 2024 than it was in 2023,” GM chief executive Mary Barra said at an investor event.
Thursday’s layoffs also come after a major leadership shakeup at Cruise on Wednesday, according to Reuters, which saw the departure of nine executives, including its chief operating officer.
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