News Column

GM Plans to Announce Assembly Plant Investment, Create Jobs

May 2, 2011

Robyn L. Minor

General Motors

General Motors is expected to announce this week that it will make a major investment in its Assembly Plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Last month, GM was approved for $7.5 million in state incentives for its plans to invest $131 million in the plant to bring another vehicle product to Bowling Green. More than $100 million of the investment is for new manufacturing equipment. The move would create up to 250 jobs. To receive the tax incentives, the plant must maintain at least 449 jobs.

Last week, Warren County Judge-Executive Mike Buchanon, Gov. Steve Beshear, Economic Development Cabinet Secretary Larry Hayes, Economic Development Commissioner Erik Dunnigan and Ron Bunch, president and CEO of Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce, visited General Motors headquarters in Detroit.

"We were warmly received," Buchanon said of the meeting. "We have been working with GM while they were considering all of their options."

Buchanon could not confirm any of the details of those options.

Hayes said he hopes to be in Bowling Green on Wednesday when the formal announcement is expected to be made.

Speaking to a Lexington Herald-Leader reporter last week, Hayes discussed Kentucky's automobile industry and how officials of its current companies like the state so much they are willing to reinvest in their futures here.

"We really have some good auto manufacturing facilities that are reinvesting in their facilities," Hayes said today.

Expansion of existing industry has been a major focus of the chamber of commerce. And while these jobs won't pay nearly as much as auto jobs did before the industry crashed, they still will pay well. Paperwork filed with the state indicated total hourly wages of $12.51 an hour.

With the county's unemployment rate about 8.7 percent in March and the average for the Barren River area at 10.2 percent, the announcement of any new jobs would be welcome.

In Warren County, 100 new jobs mean an additional 49 jobs for support industries; an additional 95 housing units, and local tax revenues of $483,558, according to the chamber.

General Motors employees are expected to have a plant-wide meeting at 10 a.m. Wednesday, presumably to discuss the announcement.

In 2006, the plant marked 25 years in Bowling Green. At its height, General Motors had more than 1,000 employees in Bowling Green and in 2008 began a series of layoffs as the automotive industry began to crash. The plant here also briefly manufactured the XLR before GM pulled the plug on the sports car in 2009.

Source: Copyright (c) 2011, Daily News, Bowling Green, Ky.

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