General Motors will lay off about 15,000 employees and close five U.S. factories. About 2,250 employees accepted a voluntary buyout, which could include six months of pay. But that number wasn’t enough for GM to reach it goals.
About 8,000 salaried employees, or 15% of the workforce, will leave the company. Engineers and designers are hardest hit, and the company will hire more technology workers to focus on electric and hybrid vehicles. The move reflects shifts in consumer preferences against small cars, such as Cruze compact and Volt, in favor of SUVs and trucks. Gas prices are low, so people want larger, more convenient vehicles.
In a statement, GM outlined its plans for the future, and Chairman and CEO Mary Barra explained the decision:
“The actions we are taking today continue our transformation to be highly agile, resilient and profitable, while giving us the flexibility to invest in the future. We recognize the need to stay in front of changing market conditions and customer preferences to position our company for long-term success.”
President Trump said he spoke with Barra and was “very tough.” He also said he’s “not happy” about the plant closings and is hoping for the company to rebuild in Ohio.
Evaluate GM’s statement. What business writing principles are followed, and what could be improved?
What else, if anything, should GM do to maintain brand image during the cuts? For example, Barra could agree to media interviews. Should she? Why or why not?