In a surprise reversal, General Motors said it will close its Arizona technology center and lay off 936 workers — about 18 months after it had planned to hire several hundred more at the Chandler facility.
The automaker announced the layoffs on August 23 by filing a WARN, or Employee Adjustment and Retraining Notification, with the state. GM opened the facility in 2014.
The notice caught Chandler officials, who earlier promised to expand the facilityoff guard.
“This announcement came as a complete surprise,” said Micah Miranda, Chandler’s director of economic development.
“We have recently been working with their local team on higher-education partnerships, mentorship and a promotional video highlighting the Chandler Price Corridor,” he said in a statement. “With this unfortunate news, we plan to work closely with our workforce-development partners to assist with employment opportunities for those affected.”
shifting IT needs
GM employed 1,139 people in Arizona at mid-year, most of them at the 170,000-square-foot Arizona Information Technology Innovation Center at 2900 W. Geronimo Place. The campus is one of four GM Technology Centers nationally, along with locations in Michigan, Texas, and Georgia.
The Chandler center will close later this year as GM adjusts its IT resources in the United States. “Employees working on our software-defined vehicle teams will remain in Arizona,” the company said in a statement. Employees affected by the layoffs “will have the opportunity to apply for open positions.”
The Chandler facility is focused on services and solutions for GM cars and trucks as the company transitions to a fully electric vehicle future. Open positions at Chandler included software developers, data analysts, business analysts, product managers and software architects, according to the company’s expansion announcement in February 2022.
After several years of strong growth driven partly by federal tax credits, electric vehicle sales are beginning to slow, amid hurdles facing affordability and rising auto-loan interest rates.
Automaker’s presence in Arizona
GM operates four other facilities in Arizona, including a 2,400-acre proving ground for warm-weather driving in Yuma, which opened in 2009. The company also has a financial customer-service center in Chandler, whose employees were not included in the mid-year count. 1,139.
The Detroit-based automaker has 47 dealers in Arizona and has delivered 43,700 vehicles here. It paid $145 million in taxable wages to its Arizona employees in 2022.
At the time of last year’s expansion announcement, Chandler Mayor Kevin Hartke described the jobs at the Innovation Center as high-paying, high-skill positions that provided tremendous employment opportunities.
By early 2023, GM employs 104,000 people in the US and 167,000 globally. It sold 2.27 million vehicles last year in the US with a 16% market share, and 5.94 million vehicles globally with a 7.6% share.
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.