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Detroit resident Evetta Osborne, (right), works side by side with her daughter, Monique Watson, at General Motors’ Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant where the two have installed the lithium-ion battery pack on nearly every Chevrolet Volt, Opel Ampera, Holden Volt, and Cadillac ELR since production began. Photo: General Motors

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General Motors dropped a bomb on Monday, saying it will likely close three assembly plants including Detroit-Hamtramck in a pre-emptive move to cut costs and headcount ahead of an expected downturn.

The moves mean the elimination of as many as 14,000 jobs — including 1,500 at Detroit-Hamtramck — and the elimination of slow-selling sedans like the Chevrolet Volt and Impala and the Buick LaCrosse. A transmission plant in Warren could also close.

It’s a particularly dubious cap to the saga of the Poletown plant, which rose during the 1980s after the two cities it straddles worked with GM to condemn and raze a working-class neighborhood of the same name.

On today’s episode, we speak with Hamtramck Mayor Karen Majewski, who tells us the closure leaves a city defined by the auto industry without any actual auto manufacturing. It also leaves Detroit without an open auto-assembly plant. In fact, here’s Mayor Mike Duggan statement about it:

“This morning I spoke to Mary Barra and she advised me for the first time of the situation at the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant. The news is troubling. I have spoken to UAW President Gary Jones and the city’s economic development team. They are working together to come up with a solution that works for GM and the employees. We all know there is strong demand for manufacturing space in Detroit and we are willing to work with GM to fill all the available manufacturing space at Poletown with either GM-related entities or other companies.”

You can also read the UAW’s statement here.

We also speak with auto analyst Michelle Krebs of Autotrader to learn about the business rationale behind the move.

And finally, tech guru Nuri Gocay joins us to shed some light on where General Motors is actually adding jobs (hint: It ain’t in Detroit).

Enjoy today’s episode in the player above, or subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts. And if you like what we’re doing and want to support us, check us out at Patreon

Detroit Podcast
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