Washington (AFP) - President Donald Trump threatened to cut subsidies to General Motors on Tuesday, a day after the US automaker's bruising layoff announcement that hits the politically crucial states in the US Midwest.
"The U.S. saved General Motors, and this is the THANKS we get!" Trump said on Twitter, alluding to the government bailout during the financial crisis. "We are now looking at cutting all @GM subsidies, including for electric cars."
The statement came after GM on Monday announced it was cutting 15 percent of its workforce, shuttering five plants in the United States, including two in Michigan and one in Ohio, key battleground states that Trump narrowly carried in the 2016 presidential election.
GM described the move as necessary in light of weak sales for smaller cars that are made at the plants and as it seeks to redirect its resources towards investments on autonomous driving and other new technologies.
Automakers have also faced higher costs due to tariffs imposed by Trump on imported steel and aluminum, but GM said the decision was not related to the tariffs.
The US currently provides subsidies of $2,500 to $7,500 for electric vehicles depending on the model. GM produces the all-electric Chevrolet Bolt, however, electric cars account for a tiny fraction of the company's overall sales in the US.
The company also said it will focus production on its popular and top-selling trucks and SUVs.