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GM announces EV production in MI after incentives deal

Lansing Delta Township Assembly Plant
General Motors
GM's Lansing Delta Township Assembly Plant.

A state board approved an incentive package Tuesday to lure General Motors electric vehicle production. That teed up GM’s formal announcement that it will invest $7 billion to produce vehicles and batteries at plants in Michigan.

GM CEO Mary Barra said the goal is to make the company the number one producer of electric vehicles.

“And we intend to bring our employees with us through this transformation to that all-electric future,” she said. “That includes thousands of employees right here in Michigan, who will help make our home state the epicenter of the electric vehicle industry.”

The announcement in Lansing was no surprise, but a triumph nevertheless for business and political leaders anxious to make Michigan a center for building battery-powered vehicles.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer predicted this will restore Michigan’s preeminent role in the auto industry.

“Putting the world on wheels was Act 1,” she said. “In the decades to come, we’ll electrify the world.”

GM and state officials say the deal will create or preserve 5,000 jobs in metro Detroit and mid-Michigan.

GM’s plans include expanding its Orion Township factory and building a battery cell plant in Delta Township in partnership with LG Energy Solutions.

Business and union leaders along with Democrats and Republicans basked in the moment after swiftly putting together an incentive plan and getting it through the Legislature.

Republican state Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey said GM’s decision will change futures and create employment opportunities.

“Instead of talking about what they can’t do, they will be talking about what they can do: a new home, college tuition, and yes, maybe even a new car, maybe even one they helped build,” he said.

President Joe Biden also weighed in. The White House issued a statement calling the decision part of a “historic American manufacturing comeback.”

Last year, Biden visited a GM plant in Detroit and Hamtramck that will also produce electric vehicles.

But the deal has its critics, who say targeted incentives won’t work in the long run.

John Mozena is with the southeast Michigan-based Center for Economic Accountability, a free market advocacy organization. He says a recent survey of business leaders ranked incentives ninth on a list of reasons driving site selection for development projects.

“Ninth? That’s where you stash your worst hitter in a baseball lineup,” he testified Tuesday before a legislative committee. “Not where you bet the state’s future.”

Michigan Radio’s Steve Carmody contributed to this report.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.
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