GM executives defend NAFTA, Mexican truck plant

From Reuters - January 13, 2018

DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Co (GM.N) Chief Executive Mary Barra expressed optimism on Saturday that the North American Free Trade Agreement would survive, and other senior GM executives stood by the companys plans to continue building trucks in Mexico.

At an event to tout GMs 2019 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck ahead of the Detroit auto show, Barra twice did not answer directly when asked if the automaker is reconsidering current production in Mexico in light of potential changes or the collapse of the trade deal between the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Company executives did not rule out future changes to its North American production plans depending on the outcome of ongoing NAFTA renegotiation talks, even though it would be costly to shift production of trucks.

Rival Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV(FCAU.N) (FCHA.MI) said on Thursday it will move production of its next-generation heavy-duty pickup trucks to Michigan from a plant in Mexico, a move that reduces the risk that those trucks would be hit with a 25 percent tariff if NAFTA unravels.

Barra sidestepped a question about GMs Mexican truck factory, saying, When I look at our footprint, there is so much more work and negotiations to be done on NAFTA.

Mark Reuss, GMs product development chief, said the company is using its existing truck plants in North America, but would not elaborate when asked if GM could stop building trucks in Mexico.

Im not sure that we would tell anybody that, Reuss said. I dont think wed be talking about our footprint in the future.

In a separate exchange with reporters, Reuss said GM intended to use its North American factories, including those in Mexico.


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