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Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

General Motors said Monday that it will cut 15% of its salaried workforce, estimated to be around 14,700 people in North America, and that it will idle factories in Michigan, Ohio, Maryland and Canada.

The bottom line: GM said when it emerged from bankruptcy that it must be profitable in both good times and bad, and today's moves suggest that it is preparing for an economic downturn.

GM says it will "unallocate" multiple North American plants in 2019, which basically means those facilities will not be asked to make product. It's the first procedural step toward outright closure, which cannot happen before a negotiated labor union agreement. The affected plants are:

  • Oshawa Assembly in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
  • Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly in Detroit
  • Lordstown Assembly in Warren, Ohio
  • Baltimore Operations in White Marsh, Maryland
  • Warren Transmission Operations in Warren, Michigan

The automaker also said it will close two other manufacturing facilities outside North America, in addition to a previously announced shuttering of an assembly plant in Gunsan, South Korea.

It anticipates the restructuring will cost between $3 billion and $3.8 billion, with the layoffs including 25% of GM's executive staff.

  • Future development will focus on electric-powered crossovers, trucks and SUVs, with sedans and gas-powered cars being de-emphasized.
  • GM stock was halted on the announcement, but then rose over 5% once trading resumed.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

39 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Bipartisan group of senators seeks coronavirus stimulus deal

Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine). Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

At least eight Republican and Democratic senators have formed a working group aimed at securing new coronavirus spending during the lame-duck session, a move favored by President-elect Biden, two sources familiar with the group tell Axios.

Why it matters: It may be the most significant bipartisan step toward COVID relief in months.

FCC chairman to depart in January

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Ajit Pai will leave his post as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission on Jan. 20, the agency said today.

Why it matters: Pai's Inauguration Day departure is in keeping with agency tradition, and could set up the Biden administration with a 2-1 Democratic majority at the FCC if the Senate fails to confirm another Trump nominee during the lame-duck period.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

GM's shrinking deal with Nikola

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

General Motors will no longer take an equity stake in Nikola Corp. or build its pickup truck, under a revised deal that still envisions GM as a key tech supplier for Nikola's planned line of electric and fuel cell heavy trucks.

Driving the news: The revised agreement Monday is smaller in scope than a draft partnership rolled out in September that had included a $2 billion stake in the startup and an agreement to build its Badger pickup.