Er, bought. According to the Freep, the Michigan Economic Growth Authority put together the $779 million tax credit package which secured Orion Assembly’s future as the home of the Chevy Aveo’s replacement. A 25-year, 100 percent tax abatement from the municipality of Orion Township (worth some $100 million) didn’t hurt either. Nor did Oakland County’s $136.5 million in retraining money. GM will drop $600-$800 million retooling the plant, “saving” some 1,200 jobs at Orion and another 200 at nearby Pontiac Stamping. But this decision wasn’t a simple dollars-and-cents deal, according to the the parties involved. Oh, no.
“Proximity to suppliers was a significant advantage, especially when it came to heavy materials such as axles and transmissions,” offers Rep. Gary Peters, by way of explanation to the outbid Wisconsin and Tennessee plants. “Let’s not forget about our membership that produced three No. 1 J.D. Power quality awards in recent years,” added Mike Dunn of UAW Local 5960 (Orion). “And the current (Pontiac) G6 and (Chevrolet) Malibu finished second and third in their segment in this year’s quality survey.” Yep. That must have been it.
“If they hire enough lower wage people, they can come within $100 to $150 of the cost of building a comparable car in China,” explains Sean McAlinden of the Center for Automotive Research. See, now we’re talking. And Shenzhen probably wouldn’t offer those kinds of tax breaks.