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Trump warns U.S. may cut off GM subsidies after job cuts

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said the White House was looking at cutting subsidies for General Motors Co (GM.N) after the largest U.S. automaker said it would halt production at five plants in North America and layoff thousands of workers.

FILE PHOTO: A 2012 Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle is parked at the solar-powered electric charging station designed by Sunlogics in the parking lot of General Motors Co’s assembly plant in Hamtramck, Michigan August 9, 2011. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook/File Photo

“The U.S. saved General Motors, and this is the THANKS we get! We are now looking at cutting all @GM subsidies, including … for electric cars,” Trump said on Twitter.

GM electric vehicles are eligible for a $7,500 tax credit under federal law, but it is not clear how the administration could restrict those credits or if he had other subsidies in mind. GM shares fell on Trump’s tweets and were recently down 2.4 percent.

GM declined to immediately comment.

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Trump criticized GM for not closing facilities in Mexico or China on Twitter.

White House spokesman Sarah Sanders told reporters on Tuesday that the president is looking into options.

“The president wants to see American companies build cars here in America not build them overseas and he is hopeful that GM will continue to do that here,” she said.

The company announced Monday it will halt production at one Canadian plant and four U.S. factories, including the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant that builds the plug-in hybrid electric Chevrolet Volt. GM is ending production of six vehicles, including the Volt, as it cuts more than 6,500 factory jobs.

GM confirmed on Tuesday that 2,250 salaried workers had applied for buyouts. The company said Monday it plans to cut about 8,000 of its 54,000 salaried workers in North America. The company plans to layoff thousands of salaried workers in January.

Trump told GM on Monday it “better” find a new product for Lordstown Assembly plant in Ohio that will halt production in March. GM has said sagging demand for small cars largely prompted the cuts.

Reporting by David Shepardson and Roberta Rampton; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Lisa Shumaker

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