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GM seeks aid to renovate Saturn plant
December 12, 2006
NASHVILLE -- General Motors Corp. wants to invest about $225 million in its Saturn manufacturing plant in Spring Hill, Tenn., to renovate the paint shop for future vehicle production, the company announced Monday.
The investment, which would close the plant about 30 miles south of Nashville for several months starting in April, depends on securing an incentive package from the state, GM said.
Gov. Phil Bredesen said he was encouraged by the plans when he spoke with GM officials Monday.
"When I said this seems to me to be good news for the future of the plant, they said, `Well, we're certainly not going to argue with that,"' Bredesen said.
United Auto Workers Local 1853 Chairman Mike Herron said that GM also plans to retool the plant to allow it to build more kinds of vehicles off a variety of platforms.
"Team members here understand very clearly that a short-term downtime like this will allow the infrastructure to be installed and will secure the future for the next decade," Herron said. "That's a very good trade-off."
GM, facing stiffer competition, changing consumer tastes and rising labor costs, launched a restructuring a year ago that calls for closing 12 plants by 2008 and cutting structural costs. The world's largest automaker is slashing 35,000, or nearly one-third, of its U.S. hourly workers in 2006 through buyouts and early retirement deals.
GM lost $3.03 billion in the first nine months of 2006 after losing $10.6 billion last year.
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