In a drastic move, General Motors has decided to shut down five factories in North America, besides slashing thousands of factory and white-collar jobs. It also plans to close down three factories outside North America by the end of 2019.

This move is being attributed to reasons including rising costs and slowing car sales, and the announcement is preceding the US carmaker’s decision to focus on its line-up of trucks, electric and self-driving vehicles. The company says that the plan is supposed to help it to save about $6 billion (£4.7bn). The cutbacks include a 15% reduction in its total number of employees and a 25% reduction of executives.

The five plants in North America have 7,000 employees at the moment.

The actions we are taking today continue our transformation to be highly agile, resilient and profitable, while giving us the flexibility to invest in the future. We recognise the need to stay in front of changing market conditions and customer preferences to position our company for long-term success, – Mary Barra, GM chairman and chief executive.

The firm has said that it was cutting production of the Buick LaCross, Chevrolet Volt, Cadillac CT6 and XTS, and Chevrolet Impala, along with older versions of the Silverado and Sierra. As for the factories being closed down, the list includes assembly plants in Oshawa, Canada; Detroit, Michigan, and Warren, Ohio; along with factories in Warren, Michigan and outside of Baltimore, Maryland. General Motors had apparently signaled some of its plans previously.

This February, the company had announced its plan to close one plant in South Korea. Additionally, it had offered buyouts to thousands of workers earlier this year.