The choice to produce General Motors new small car at its plant in Orion Township, Mich., though political by nature, did not involve the presidential auto task force, GM North America President Troy Clarke said today.
This is really GMs decision, he said on a conference call with reporters. We then advised the task force of the decision.
The task force didnt sign off on the plant selection, he said, although its members did know of GMs process for choosing between the Michigan factory and operations in Janesville, Wis., and Spring Hill, Tenn. The Janesville and Spring Hill plants will now idle indefinitely.
All three states proposed very attractive incentives to encourage GM to keep their factories open, and Michigans was a very, very, very good offer, and part of that comes from the creativity, Clarke said.
But state incentives were just one of the criteria GM used to make the decision, Clarke said.
Congressional delegations from all three states lobbied to keep their plants open.
But Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, a Republican, in December had helped block Congress' efforts to bail out Detroit automakers. Some posts on the Web site of The Tennessean in Nashville say Corker hurt the Spring Hill plants chances of winning the small car.
But that was not a factor that entered into it, Clarke said. I believe the right answer was come to for the right reasons.
The Spring Hill plant opened two decades ago as the sole source of Saturn cars. GM spent $2 billion on the plant, working to implement the more efficient, vertically integrated Japanese auto-making culture.
But that was a couple of decades ago, Clarke said.
When the Spring Hill plant came online, it was innovative, he said. The balance of our facilities have now caught up to that.