General Motors has decided its fifth electric vehicle facility should be in Mexico and has set aside $1 billion for its complex in Ramos Arizpe, Coahuila, Mexico. While a portion of the funds will go toward a new paint shop, the manufacturer also said the money would be used to prepare the site for EV and battery production, angering the United Auto Workers (UAW).
“This is a slap in the face for not only UAW members and their families,” stated UAW Vice President Terry Dittes. “General Motors automobiles made in Mexico are sold in the United States and should be made right here, employing American workers.”
General Motors announced its investment in the Arizpe Ramos Manufacturing Complex via the GM-Mexico website on Thursday. The other planned EV plants are located in Spring Hill, Tennessee; “Factory ZERO” at Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly; Orion Assembly in Orion Township; and CAMI in Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada — with the final example also receiving some union pushback.
The union claims that General Motors having requested significant investments in EVs (in the form of subsidies) from the U.S. government makes this decision particularly unpalatable. Dittes said it wasn’t just an affront to UAW workers but also to American taxpayers, noting that vehicles manufactured in Mexico will eventually be transported back across the border to be sold stateside. His solution was to just move the jobs back north to support U.S. businesses and labor.
“That is why our nation is investing in these companies,” Dittes said. “Taxpayer money should not go to companies that utilize labor outside the U.S. while benefiting from American government subsidies. This is not the America any of us signed on for. Frankly, it is unseemly.”
U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D) was inclined to agree, hinting at a possible boycott of GM products manufactured outside of the country.
“Electric vehicles must be built here in America by the finest workforce in the world — the American worker,” she elaborated. “Not one American dollar should support our own jobs being shipped off to Mexico – especially when we have the workers and the technology to manufacture the best vehicles of the future here at home. General Motors needs to reaffirm their commitment to working, American families. I am focused on ensuring auto innovation and manufacturing stays in the hands of hard-working American people so that the United States can remain the global leader for the next era. Legislation I am leading in Congress, the U.S.A. Electrify Forward Act and the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Future Act, will modernize and expand programs used to build and retool auto factories in the United States so that future generations of American workers will benefit long-term and at the same time decarbonize the economy.”
GM’s rebuttal has been to point out the 9,000 (eventual) jobs created inside of America through the other EV facilities and issuing reminders that its commitment to electrification is still being upheld through these actions. But the UAW won’t have dominion over any of them until it manages to organize and get the automaker to acknowledge some kind of contract.
“We are really proud about contributing to GM’s vision of a future with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion, by the production of electric vehicles,” said Francisco Garza, GM Mexico president and managing director, in a statement. “We are confident that future economic conditions will enable this investment to eventually grow the complex workforce in some operations from two to three shifts.”
More details will need to be provided before we learn exactly what Ramos Arizp will be producing. The site is currently responsible for the Chevrolet Equinox and Blazer with room leftover for powertrains. The other four facilities will be building the EV600 electric delivery vehicle, Cadillac Lyriq, Chevrolet Bolt EV, Chevrolet Bolt EUV, Cruise AV, Origin robotaxis, GMC Hummer EV, and the upcoming Chevrolet Silverado electric. There’s a chance Mexico could be tapped to assist with some of the aforementioned models, though the rumor mill claims it’s being prepped for electrified utility vehicles.
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