General Motors CEO Mary Barra dismissed the possibility that Elon Musk's Tesla could acquire one of GM's soon-to-be-idled U.S. factories.
Barra on Friday acknowledged talk about the prospect of Tesla acquiring GM's plant in Detroit or its plant in Lordstown, Ohio, both of which are set to close soon unless they are assigned new vehicles to manufacture.
“There have been conversations in the past,” Barra said at a presentation for investors and analysts. “But Tesla’s not interested in our workforce represented by the UAW, so really it’s a moot point.”
The United Auto Workers is a union that represents GM's hourly workers in the U.S.
Tesla CEO Musk recently expressed interest in his company potentially purchasing one of the GM factories. That's essentially what Tesla did with its factory in Fremont, California, which was formerly a joint venture between GM and Toyota.
But the Fremont factory is not unionized, despite the UAW's attempts to do so. And Musk has repeatedly criticized the union, saying it helped lead to GM's downfall and arguing that his workers are safe and well-paid.
A Tesla spokesman was not immediately available for comment.
Barra's comment came as GM reported that its decision to likely close the plants in Ohio and Michigan will contribute to its increased profitability. Those moves came after GM decided to discontinue several vehicles, including the Chevrolet Cruze, Chevy Impala and Chevy Volt.
The company surprised Wall Street on Friday by upping its estimated 2019 profits, despite concerns about the global economy and the Chinese vehicle market.
GM shares rose 8.9 percent to $37.80 early Friday afternoon before closing at $37.18.
The factory cuts, as well as thousands of buyouts and layoffs of white-collar workers, will add up to $2.5 billion to GM's annual cost savings in 2019.
In all, about 6,500 hourly jobs are in danger, though Barra said Friday that GM has a 2,700 openings in other plants in Flint, Michigan; Spring Hill, Tennessee; and Arlington, Texas, where affected workers could transfer. She said about 1,500 hourly workers have expressed interest in those openings and 700 have been placed in jobs and are "en route."
The job cuts were necessary, Barra said.
"Doing something that's proactive when you have a strong labor market is important," said Barra. She said GM will continue to "have a dialogue" with the UAW and Unifor, Canada's union, to "take care of our team members" and GM will be transparent in its future business plans.
GM has faced continued push-back against the cuts in Canada and the United States. Michigan and Ohio lawmakers have criticized the moves and cited the government's bankruptcy bailout of GM.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: GM CEO Mary Barra: Tesla CEO Elon Musk doesn't want unionized workers