But it's not a slam dunk.
Patricia Spitzley, deputy redevelopment manager for the Racer Trust, which sells former General Motors properties, said restarting an old plant requires newenvironmental permits. And, she adds, some older plants are in cities that prefer alternative uses. Former GM assembly plants have been turned into retail and housing developments — even into a golf course, Spitzley said.
Valerie Sathe Brugeman, assistant director of CAR's Transportation Systems Analysis Group, said that a community's willingness to restart vehicle production "100 percent depends on the location of a plant. … Old plants in city centers tend not to remain in manufacturing anymore."
Still, Spitzley said the Racer Trust is encountering "a robust market" for former GM properties. Manufacturers like the sites, she said: "They don't have to worry about water, sewer, electrical. With a lot of the auto plants, their infrastructure was massive."
FCA will do substantial work to transform its two old engine plants into a vehicle assembly plant. Swiecki said that kind of revamp is more challenging when a different automaker, with its own production system and preferred floor layout, acquires a competitor's plant.