Tuesday, September 4, 2012

From Janesville to Jilin

Government Motors opened plant in China four months after closing plant in Wisconsin

A bailed out General Motors expanded its small truck and SUV manufacturing in China soon after closing down similar facilities in Janesville, Wisconsin—the plant Barack Obama pledged to save and keep open for “another hundred years” in 2008.

GM has increased its manufacturing capacity in China by 55 percent since emerging from bankruptcy thanks to a $50 billion bailout from taxpayers. An important piece of that increased capacity has taken place in Changchun, Jilin Province in China.

On August 30, 2009, GM entered into a “50-50 joint venture” with China FAW Group Corp., one of China’s largest automakers. GM’s cash influx helped boost FAW’s efforts to expand its light duty commercial vehicles and SUV manufacturing. The partnership sold more than 88,000 vehicles in 2010.

The move came four months after GM shuttered its Janesville plant, which built SUVs like the Chevrolet Suburban. The closure has become a matter of controversy on the campaign trail after Janesville congressman and Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan noted the Obama administration failed to save the plant despite promising to do so on the campaign trail.

Obama stopped by the Janesville plant in February 2008 while campaigning for president and pledged to save the jobs of more than 2,000 employees.

“If our government is there to support you, and give you the assistance you need to re-tool and make this transition…this plant will be here for another hundred years,” he said.

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