GM: Tough Maneuvering in a Fast-Moving Market

GM: Tough Maneuvering in a Fast-Moving Market

GM’s announcement to close five plants has sparked a lot of criticism. How can a company bolstered by a taxpayer-funded bailout and generous tax cuts lay off 14,000 people? Is it betrayal or foresight?

CEO Mary T. Barra has justified the job cuts, citing slowing sales and changing markets. GM’s actions are easy to criticize, but compassionate solutions are difficult to come by.

Video Spotlight: GM’s planned layoffs

This post is based on the New York Times article, GM to Idle Plants and Cut Thousands of Jobs as Sales Slow, by N.E. Boudette, November 26, 2018; and the video on GM’s planned layoffs, by A. Abrams, November 29, 2018. Image source: Glow Images.

Discussion Questions:

1. Identify the specific elements in a SWOT analysis that may have triggered Ms. Barra’s decision to close several plants.



  • economy (higher interest rates, tariffs)
  • legal environment (push for higher minimum wages gaining momentum in several states)
  • competition (competitors’ investments in self-driving and electric cars)
  • markets (shifts in vehicle sales)


  • economy (low unemployment rates potentially easing employees’ reintegration into the workforce; financial boost with new of capital)
  • new technologies to facilitate the development of self-driving and electric cars Continue reading