But executives saw stiff competition and a tough economy ahead. The cuts are designed to free up some cash and position its workforce of 180,000 for the future of autonomous vehicles and electric cars.

“We cannot afford to wait and see what happens in the industry, or with China, or in international trade or currency, to then react,” the severance document said. “Even if macro-economic factors are partially to blame, continuing to lower guidance to Wall Street is not an option.”

GM offered voluntary buyouts to roughly 17,700 eligible employees in North America with at least 12 years of service, according to the document. The company was aiming for 8,000 voluntary buyouts among its salaried workers as part of a total headcount reduction of 14,000, spokesman Pat Morrissey confirmed. He said about 2,250 workers accepted severance agreements by the Nov. 19 deadline.

The carmaker previously said that involuntary layoffs would follow if there were not enough takers. Roughly 5,750 salaried workers and 6,000 hourly employees will be laid off, he confirmed. Half of the hourly workers are in Canada with the other half in the U.S., where the company will work with union officials to try to move to other plants, Morrissey said.

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