GM says it’ll close its Willow Run transmission plant

June 29, 2009

GM says it’ll close its Willow Run transmission plant

Factory to wind down by Dec. 2010

BY JUSTIN HYDE
FREE PRESS WASHINGTON STAFF

WASHINGTON — General Motors Corp. said Sunday it was standing firm on its decision to close the Willow Run transmission plant, saying operations would wind down by December 2010 or sooner.

The company was unable to immediately explain why the lease for the plant was shifted to the new GM that will emerge from bankruptcy protection sometime next month in an amended sale plan filed Saturday. The lease originally had been part of the assets that GM was leaving behind in bankruptcy court to be liquidated, along with all other closed plants.

Only factories that GM plans to keep open or deem idled have been part of the new GM so far in its bankruptcy.

GM spokeswoman Susan Garavaglia said the automaker still plans to close Willow Run by December 2010 "or sooner if the market demand dictates." GM is phasing out production of the four-speed transmissions built there and consolidating six-speed transmission production at a factory in Toledo.

Officials in Wayne and Washtenaw counties, along with U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., have been pushing GM to reconsider closing the plant. The counties filed objections in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, saying GM’s move wasn’t justified on business grounds.

Dingell has been leading a campaign to build public support for the plant, launching www.friendsofwillowrun.com to gather appeals to GM.

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