By Kimberly Chin and Adrienne Roberts
General Motors Co. said Friday it will invest $300 million in a plant in Michigan to build a new electric car, a move that comes as the Detroit car maker has faced criticism from President Trump for plans to close four U.S. factories.
The planned investment, GM said, is part of a broader commitment to spend $1.8 billion at its U.S. manufacturing operations, adding 700 jobs in several states.
Within the last week, Mr. Trump has taken to Twitter to press GM and its chief executive, Mary Barra, to keep open a plant in Lordstown, Ohio, posting a series of tweets criticizing the company and the United Auto Workers union for not securing the plant's future.
Ms. Barra, speaking to reporters after announcing the Michigan-plant investment, declined to comment directly on Mr. Trump's recent tweets. In a conversation with the president over the weekend, she said she emphasized that the auto maker needs to remain strong to preserve its jobs and manufacturing base in the U.S. "And that's what we're working on," Ms. Barra said.
The CEO said the decision to build its newest electric car -- to be sold under the Chevy brand -- was influenced in part by a new free-trade deal struck last year by the Trump administration for North America.
GM and Ms. Barra have repeatedly defended the company's plant closures, saying it needs to improve profits and prepare for an expected downturn in the U.S. market. However, that has done little to mollify the president, who earlier this week latched onto the Lordstown plant closure at a campaign rally.
The announcement Friday is a reversal from plans to produce the new Chevrolet vehicle outside of the U.S., GM said. The Orion plant produces the Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle, as well as the Chevrolet Sonic and Cruise AV test vehicles.
GM said it would add roughly 400 new jobs to the plant, all toward producing its new Chevrolet electric vehicle. The new electric vehicle will be modeled on the Chevrolet Bolt's architecture, the company said.
Write to Kimberly Chin at firstname.lastname@example.org and Adrienne Roberts at Adrienne.Roberts@wsj.com