In its prime, Flint, Mich., was the heartbeat that furiously pumped General Motors vehicles onto the road.
At its lowest, in the years after GM cut production in the town and closed its Buick City assembly plant in 1996, Flint was a city of industrial and commercial vacancies, viewed as one of the most dangerous cities in America, and a city where residents couldn't drink the water.
Michigan and local officials believe there is a new life for Flint - a city that often symbolized the image of Rust Belt America. And the auto industry is making efforts to reconsider the once booming location.
Ray Scott is such a believer.
Flint is the hometown of Scott, who was recently promoted to CEO of the global seating and electronics giant Lear Corp. Scott led Lear to invest in Flint, with the city's Buick City area serving as the site for Lear's latest assembly and subassembly plant.
Lear needed a new production plant, and Scott admits there was never much doubt that its location would go to Flint. The suburban-Detroit seating and electronics supplier broke ground on the $29.3 million site late last year.
The 156,000-square-foot plant will be the first major supplier plant built in Flint in more than 30 years.
"It used to be one of the largest manufacturing sites in the world," Scott says. "And we all know what's happened to Flint over the years."
Positioning Lear in the city is a win-win, the CEO says. It can serve nearby automakers but also help a hurting community.
"We've done a lot in the city of Detroit," Scott says of Lear, where he has worked since the 1980s. "I felt that if we were going to do something, we had to do it in Flint. It's just who we are. It's the company, and it's how I've been brought up through the company."
To support the project, the Michigan Strategic Fund awarded Lear a performance-based grant of $4.35 million. The city of Flint additionally provided a property tax abatement for the investment.
Janice Karcher, senior vice president of economic development at the Flint and Genesee Chamber of Commerce, says the chamber has been heavily promoting its existing industrial infrastructure-including Buick City-and has received a steady amount of recent investments.
Another auto supplier, C3 Ventures, which makes interior plastic components, invested $9.7 million in a 17.69-acre site on an industrial park in Flint in 2016.
Last year, a Wisconsin-based investment group purchased a 555,000-square-foot former Delphi Automotive location that has been sitting vacant on Flint's east side - another remnant of GM's past footprint in the city. It believes it can redevelop the property and recruit new tenants to the city.
This February, the C.S. Mott Foundation proposed the development of a $23 million, 140-acre industrial park in Buick City with warehousing, light industrial and the potential for about 300 new jobs. The Michigan Economic Development Corp. pledged funding support for the concept, although the plan remains at an early stage.