(Adds details on falling auto production, more details of GM
By David Shepardson
May 2 General Motors Co said on Tuesday
it would take a charge of up to $100 million after a judge
ordered the seizure of its plant in Valencia last month, a move
that prompted the halting of its operations in Venezuela.
The largest U.S. automaker said it was deconsolidating its
business in the country following the seizure of its Valencia
plant on April 18 by judicial authorities, which led GM to fire
2,700 workers. The plant had not produced a car
since the beginning of 2016 because of parts shortages and
strict currency controls.
GM, the market leader in Venezuela for 35 years, said
executives have expressed a willingness "to talk with government
officials and union leaders about the circumstances under which
it could be possible to start production and employ some number
of workers with a new, viable business model."
Total auto production in Venezuela fell to a historic low of
2,849 cars in 2016, about 75 percent less than the year before,
according to Venezuela's automotive industry group.
In the first two months of 2017, total Venezuelan auto
production was just 240 vehicles, down 50 percent over the same
period last year.
Declining auto production comes amid rising protests. On
Tuesday, Venezuela's opposition was blocking streets to decry
unpopular leftist President Nicolas Maduro's decision to create
a new super-body known as a "constituent assembly," a move they
say is a veiled attempt to cling to power by avoiding elections.
Venezuela's car industry has been hit by a lack of raw
materials stemming from complex currency controls.
Nearly all vehicles built in Venezuela in the first two
months this year were assembled by Toyota Motor Corp,
which said last month its plant was operating normally. But the
company said it was "only producing based on orders that come
In early 2015, Ford Motor Co wrote off its investment
in Venezuela when it took an $800 million pretax writedown. The
company does not currently produce vehicles in Venezuela.
The South American nation's economic crisis has hurt many
other U.S. companies, including food makers and pharmaceutical
firms. A growing number of them, like GM, have removed their
Venezuelan operations from their consolidated accounts.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Andrea Ricci and