By David Shepardson and Lisa Lambert
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump on Thursday said the decision of General Motors Co <GM.N> to shift much of its focus to electric vehicles will not succeed, and he asserted a new trade deal will make it harder for the company to move work to other countries.
Last year, GM said it planned to launch 20 new electric vehicles by 2023 as it faces rising regulatory requirements for zero-emission vehicles in China and elsewhere.
The largest U.S. automaker has come under enormous criticism in Washington after it announced plans to close four plants in the United States and cut up to 15,000 jobs in North America.
Trump questioned GM CEO Mary Barra’s business strategy in an interview with Fox News.
“They’ve changed the whole model of General Motors. They’ve gone to all-electric. All-electric is not going to work … It’s wonderful to have it as a percentage of your cars, but going into this model that she’s doing I think is a mistake,” Trump said.
Barra was on Capitol Hill for two days of meetings last week to discuss the company’s decision with angry lawmakers from states where plants are closing. “To tell me a couple weeks before Christmas that’s she going to close in Ohio and Michigan – not acceptable to me,” Trump said.
GM had no immediate comment on Trump’s remarks.
Trump suggested that a new free trade deal with Mexico and Canada makes it “very uncomfortable” for GM to build cars outside the United States.
Trump signed a new trade deal with Mexico and Canada on Nov. 30 to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, but that deal has not been approved by the U.S. Congress.
(Reporting by Lisa Lambert; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)