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GM Will Shut Down Factory Built on Land Seized in Controversial 1981 Poletown Taking

The factory stands on land seized in a taking that forcibly displaced over 4000 people, and attracted widespread widespread opposition. The lessons and legacy of the Poletown case remain relevant today.

Protestor speaks out against the 1981 Poletown condemnations.Protestor speaks out against the 1981 Poletown condemnations.

Yesterday, General Motors announced the planned closing of five plants in the US and Canada. One of the factories that will be shut down is in Hamtramck, Michigan. The plant was originally built as a result of the 1981 Poletown condemnations, in which the City of Detroit used eminent domain to forcibly displace some 4000 people:

Maybe the naysayers were right all along.

General Motors' decision to close its Hamtramck assembly plant recalls one of the most bitter development controversies in Michigan's history. Closing the plant will no doubt open old wounds — and raise anew questions of who benefits from such massive urban revitalization projects like the Hamtramck plant....

By the early 1980s, then-Mayor Coleman Young was seeking to create jobs for economically distressed Detroit. He agreed to support General Motors' plan to build its new assembly plant on the border of Detroit and Hamtramck.

But the more than 300-acre site was home to a Polish neighborhood known as Poletown. It featured about 4,000 residents, more than 1,000 houses, several Catholic churches and more than 100 businesses.

That neighborhood stood in the way of GM's plant. In a bold and hotly contested move, officials used government's eminent domain powers to seize and raze those properties on GM's behalf.

It made national news, got people like consumer advocate Ralph Nader involved, and the many protests included a nearly monthlong sit-in at the neighborhood's Immaculate Conception Church that police eventually broke up with arrests.

The opponents took their case to the Michigan Supreme Court, which, in 1981, decided to back the GM project. The court said that taking property from one private owner to give to another private owner in the name of economic development was an acceptable use of eminent domain.

The closure of the plant some 37 years after the Poletown condemnations were upheld in court doesn't by itself prove that the takings were unjustified. We cannot expect any factory to remain open forever - and indeed keeping unprofitable facilities open actually damages the economy in the long run. What does undermine the "economic development" rationale for the Poletown condemnations is that the use of eminent domain destroyed far more value than it created. As I described in a 2004 article about the Poletown case and its aftermath, the new factory never created anything close to the 6000 jobs promised by GM and city officials. On the other hand, an enormous amount of harm was caused by the displacement of 4000 people, and the destruction of numerous homes, businesses, churches, and schools. In addition, local, state, and federal governments spent some $250 million in public funds on the project (GM paid only $8 million to acquire the land). That money could have been better spent elsewhere. Poletown and other similar cases demonstrate that the use of eminent domain to forcibly displace people for private development projects is both unjust and likely to harm local economies more than it benefits them.

The Poletown takings attracted widespread opposition on both left and right. Conservatives and libertarians denounced the violation of private property rights. Left-wing critics attacked the seizure of property belonging (mostly) to working and lower-middle class people for the benefit of a powerful corporation. A small but gradually growing group of lawyers and legal scholars began to rethink the then-dominant view that almost any supposed public benefit qualifies as a "public use" sufficient to authorize the use of eminent domain under state and federal constitutions.

Protests against the Poletown takings failed to prevent authorities from going forward with the condemnations, or persuade the Michigan Supreme Court to strike them down. But the widespread opposition, combined with the poor results of the project, ultimately helped produce some beneficial change. In County of Wayne v. Hathcock (2004), the Michigan Supreme Court unanimously overruled Poletown and held that takings for private "economic development" violate the state constitution because they are not genuine "public uses." Several other state supreme courts have issued similar rulings since then.

In its controversial 2005 ruling in Kelo v. City of New London, the US Supreme Court upheld "economic development" takings under the Public Use Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the federal Constitution. But the ruling was a close 5-4 decision, and Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's much-quoted dissent drew extensively on the Michigan Supreme Court's reasoning in Hathcock.

The Kelo decision resulted in an even larger negative public reaction than Poletown. Some 45 states (including Michigan) adopted reform laws limiting the use of eminent domain, and several state courts rejected Kelo's interpretation of the federal constitution as a model for their application of their own state public use clauses. The widespread negative reaction featured the same sort of unusual cross-ideological coalitions first evident in the opposition to the Poletown takings. It was a rare situation where libertarians, the NAACP, Bill Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Rush Limbaugh were all on the same side.

There is a good chance that Kelo will ultimately be overruled, just like Poletown was. For reasons I explained in my book about Kelo and its aftermath, the ruling is badly flawed from the standpoint of both originalist and living constitution approaches to constitutional theory.

Much progress in curbing eminent domain abuse has been made since Poletown. But we still have a long way to go. Many state post-Kelo reform laws (though not those adopted in Michigan) actually impose few or no meaningful constraints on takings. And some jurisdictions continue to use eminent domain to seize property for dubious private development projects. The Foxconn case in Michigan's neighbor, Wisconsin, is a notable ongoing example. In addition, more needs to be done to constrain "blight" takings and pipeline condemnations. Still, I am guardedly optimistic that we can continue to gain ground on this issue.

The Poletown residents who bravely resisted the destruction of their neighbhorhood ultimately failed to save their homes. But they did help start a movement that has done much to prevent similar injustices elsewhere.

UPDATE: It is worth pointing out that the same federal government that helped pave the way for the Hamtranck factory by subsidizing the Poletown takings, also hastened its demise. President Trump's ill-advised steel tariffs greatly increased production costs at US auto factories, which in turn likely played a role in GM's decision to close down several US-based plants.

UPDATE #2: I should perhaps note that I wrote an amicus brief in County of Wayne v. Hathcock, on behalf of the Institute for Justice and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

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  • Iation||

    "The Poletown takings attracted widespread opposition on both left and right."

    No libertarian should ever write "both left and right" in a political context. It perpetuates the false dichotomy that there are exactly two sides.

    Recommended: "...attracted widespread opposition from all directions, including the political left and the political right."

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    There is in fact, only ONE side. Mine. And I decide who is on it.

  • Remember to keep it all polit||

    Keerist in a bucket of quibble. Languages are full of shortcuts which make it easier to understand.

    Here's a clue: if you can propose a fix, then you understood the original, and it didn't need to be fixed.

    This was not a legal brief to be fought over by learned lawyers at $350/hour.

  • James Pollock||

    "Here's a clue: if you can propose a fix, then you understood the original, and it didn't need to be fixed."

    The fact that it was eventually puzzled out doesn't mean it could have been expressed better in the first place.

    The problem here is that the proposed solution isn't any better than the original.

  • ||

    As long as you continue to fanatically support the mass immigration of third world Muslims and Hispanics who directly cause these types of rulings, I don't have any sympathy for your position.

  • James Pollock||

    Muslims and Hispanics directly caused Detroit to condemn property in 1981?

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

  • SeaBee||

    No Dummy! He's saying that third world Muslims and Hispanics comprise the majority of the federal and state judges who review these cases. The Michigan Supreme Court would never have ruled in favor of GM if it had native born judges on it. DUH!

  • James Pollock||

    Hmmm. 100% of the federal judges I've had any interaction with (admittedly a VERY small sampling) lived in the first-world, not the third-world, and approximately 0% were Muslims. Maybe Michigan has higher concentrations of both?

  • ||

    No. But if the electorate was entirely composed of white men, Democrats would never have a prayer of being elected. The 5 judges in the Kelo majority were 4 liberals plus the drunken Irishman, who was only on the Supreme Court after Bork was Borked.

  • James Pollock||

    "No. But if the electorate was entirely composed of white men, Democrats would never have a prayer of being elected"

    Numbnuts, the Democratic Party dates back to the time when the electorate was entirely composed of white men.

  • bevis the lumberjack||

    What the actual fuck? Do you read the articles before you comment?

  • mad_kalak||

    The closest you can come to your thesis here, is that once the black takeover of Detroit was complete after the white flight of the 1967 riots, is that there wasn't much hesitation to destroying a working class *Polish* neighborhood. Whereas, had whites been in charge, they would have perhaps done some "gentrification" to a back neighborhood instead.

  • mad_kalak||

    Grr, meant that to say the white flight *after* the 1967 riots. Anyway, point stands. When identity politics are predominant, whichever group is the majority in a jurisdiction will usually look out for their tribal interests first to the detriment to other groups.

  • ButWhatDoIKnow||

    Just as an fyi:
    In 2009, the Michigan Bar Journal published a series of articles in four installments about historically significant decisions of the Michigan Supreme Court.
    You'll find its informative discussion of the Poletown case on page 18 of this excerpt:
    https://www.michbar.org [delete space]/file/barjournal/article [delete space]/documents/pdf4article1490.pdf

  • Rcc1507||

    Hamtramck has two m's.

  • SeaBee||

    And no "n"s.

  • Longtobefree||

    But the keyboard only has one of each; what to do?

  • Longtobefree||

    "which in turn likely played a role in GM's decision to close down several US-based plants."

    Let's see; plant closing decisions made in only six months? Pretty damn quick for something the size of GM. And why close plants not in the US if tariffs are the reason?

    Oh, right, Trump.

  • azbadger||

    "UPDATE: It is worth pointing out that the same federal government that helped pave the way for the Hamtranck factory by subsidizing the Poletown takings, also hastened its demise. President Trump's ill-advised steel tariffs greatly increased production costs at US auto factories, which in turn likely played a role in GM's decision to close down several US-based plants."

    Two random thoughts. First, the good professor cannot resist getting a shot in at the President no matter how tenuous. Second, did I miss the part that explained the federal government's role in the Poletown takings? It appears to have been the City of Detroit and probably the State of Michigan who paved the way, not the "same federal government."

  • SIV||

    Never trust content from Ilya Somin.

  • mad_kalak||

    He thinks he's slipping in a little shiv, but it just looks petty, doesn't it? I mean, if I wanted to write something 180 opposite about the steel plants closing in PA, I could write; "George W. Bush's ill advised opening of the U.S. market to inferior Chinese steel, hastened the demise of....."

  • MJBinAL||

    The professor is obviously a political hack more than a legal scholar. In addition, has not real understanding of business in general, or the automotive industry in particular.

    The closing plants have been below 40% utilization for years and losing money. They were designed to produce passenger cars that have been selling increasingly poorly for a decade or more. These plants were destined to close.

    GM just chose to use the Trump tariffs as a foil to divert anger and frustration over their closing. They knew this was coming and laid the groundwork in advance. They did not decide to discontinue all these passenger car models in the last 60 days any more than Ford made the decision to do the same last year.

  • MJBinAL||

    We really need an edit function. Sigh

    Ford made the decision to do the same last year over a weekend. These model decisions are made more than a year in advance.

  • Bubba Jones||

    Think of all the new houses that were built to accommodate the displaced!

  • dwshelf||

    Somin cannot control his contempt for Trump.

    In a story we all can agree on, he insists on suggesting Trump hatred.

  • OtisAH||

    Trump is contemptible. That's not Somin's fault.

  • OldCurmudgeon||

    I've seen the same preening to innumerable cooking(1) articles, vacation articles, sports articles.

    President Trump dominates the world to a degree I've never witnessed before.

  • WillisEschenbach||

    Things were going well until Ilya rashly ventured into the intersection of Trump and economics. Actually, the Trump tariffs have NOT significantly increased the price of steel. The link to historical steel benchmark prices is below. The tariffs took effect in May 2018. Little change since then.

    Regards to all,

    w.

    http://steelbenchmarker.com/files/history.pdf

  • James Pollock||

    Tariffs are applied on top of the price paid to the seller. They're part of the cost of buying, but they aren't part of the price of steel.

  • MJBinAL||

    When you go to buy steel within the US, the cost of tariffs is included in the quoted price. Further, the price of domestic steel reflects the market cost of of imported steel including the tariffs.

    In short, yes, they are part of the cost of the steel in the domestic market.

  • James Pollock||

    "When you go to buy steel within the US, the cost of tariffs is included in the quoted price."

    How does the seller know if I will have to pay tariffs? Since they won't ever handle the money for tariffs, why are they even trying to take on this task?

    " the price of domestic steel reflects the market cost of of imported steel including the tariffs."

    How, exactly?

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Which is irrelevant to the factories that are being closed.

  • OtisAH||

    I suspect that, like with the ACA before, the tariffs are a convenient issue on which to place responsibility for something a corporation was already planning to do. That's not to say the tariffs had no effect. You can't make up higher costs if people aren't buying the vehicles. But as is alluded to above, decisions like this are not generally made or executed on the fly.

  • MJBinAL||

    BINGO!

  • Martinned||

    So I guess the takeaway here is that import levies on steel are bad for the car industry. Glad we cleared that up.

  • Bob from Ohio||

    Its not true that tariffs had much to do with it.

    Maybe don't try to sell electric cars no one wants.

  • James Pollock||

    Yeah, nobody wants electric cars, except for all the people who bought one.

  • mad_kalak||

    And what percent of the market share are they, pray tell?

  • James Pollock||

    "And what percent of the market share are they, pray tell?"

    Um, I would say that electric vehicles make up approximately 100% of the market for electric vehicles, give or take a percent.

    (Note that this is a category that includes street-legal vehicles, vehicles for removing injured sports performers from the game arena, vehicles for people who cannot walk for 18 holes worth of golf, and a wide range of toys for children.)

  • MJBinAL||

    The question is, are they selling enough of them to amortize the fixed costs of the production facility. And the answer to that question was , no. GM was losing money on all these vehicles.

    In fact, GM knew they were going to lose money on the Volt, but marketing it was part of the political price for getting the company pulled out of the fire by Obama. But the stock the government took is sold and Obama is just a bad memory, so the Volt went on the block with all the other money losing models.

  • James Pollock||

    "The question is, are they selling enough of them to amortize the fixed costs of the production facility"

    Those are sunk costs.

    Sometimes you expect to lose money while you build the brand. Nearly all TV shows, for example, lose money for the studios that make them for the first 4 to five seasons. But sometimes, your product launches and the public just doesn't like it. Broadcast TV networks have backups ready to go at the first whiff of failure. Car manufacturers have to take a slightly longer view.

  • Bob from Ohio||

    Most people use "no one" to mean "very few" or "hardly any", its a figure of speech. However, you are right, I should not have used it.

    Because there is always one joker who takes it literally.

    People bought the Edsel too. Still a failure.

  • mad_kalak||

    I took the time to check Wikipedia, passenger plug-in market share of total new car sales between 2013 and 2017 for selected countries and selected regional markets is a whopping 1.13%. I wonder what it would be without the government subsidy?

  • mad_kalak||

    1.13%, that's for the U.S., it never breaks 3-5% anywhere else except Nordic counties, and I wonder what government subsidies are involved there.

  • Bob from Ohio||

    .13 at best IMHO

    Tesla's rich buyers get the credit too. So the Volt's market share is utterly puny.

  • OldCurmudgeon||

    In fairness, some will buy one to avoid gas taxes. And others will buy one because it allows them to use the HOV lanes

    oh, wait, those are subsidies, too.

  • John Rohan||

    It's hard to believe that the Poletown neighborhood was the only viable place anywhere in the Detroit area for a new factory in 1981. There had to be other options that didn't involve razing occupied buildings and displacing people.

  • James Pollock||

    Places that are suitable for large plants are hard to come by. You need lots of available contiguous space, and infrastructure to support lots of people coming at the start of shift and leaving at the end of shift.

    Then you get picky... this land isn't suitable for building because it isn't level, or it's prone to flooding, or the ground isn't stable.

    Then you deal with things out of left field. The spot you picked is habitat for the endangered Red Welt Mosquito. No, it was habitat to Native Peoples ten thousand years ago, and they're suing to preserve the burials. No, it was once used as a toxic waste dump, and 3 people at the same time caught the same rare cancer.

  • MJBinAL||

    All of this is true, and these plants are HUGE since they are all on a single floor. Early auto plants (like the old Willy's Overland (Jeep) plant in Toledo) had multiple floors and the production line went from one floor to another. As automation improved plants went to one operating floor and got bigger and bigger. One reason for the new Jeep plant being outside of Toledo is that they needed a large tract of land to put it on.

  • James Pollock||

    I've never been in a car factory, but I HAVE been in an airplane factory (Boeing's Renton plant, where they make 737s, and the Portland plant that makes components that are shipped to the main factory for final assembly.)

  • OldCurmudgeon||

    "Many state post-Kelo reform laws (though not those adopted in Michigan) actually impose few or no meaningful constraints on takings. "

    Getting back on subject, I worry that these reforms are going to make things worse. They all seem to require that *judges* evaluate whether or not something is "in the public interest." Institutionally speaking, that seems to be an absurd place to locate that responsibility (vs elected representatives).

    The better reform strategy, imho, is to put more teeth into the "just compensation" prong e.g., make governments pay the losses associated with moving, not just the fmv of the property established by people who have personal reasons to sell/buy.

  • bernard11||

    make governments pay the losses associated with moving,

    More than that, even, in many cases. Paying only FMV is ridiculous. It should be the starting point, not the conclusion.

  • Bob from Ohio||

    FMV is what a property would sell for in a deal between a willing seller and willing buyer under no restraints. It is the best measure of a property's value.

    Why should a property owner get a windfall?

  • tkamenick||

    Because they have no choice in the matter. FMV is what they could get if they WANTED to sell, and the fact that they aren't willing to sell demonstrates that the actual value of the home to them is greater than its fair market value.

  • James Pollock||

    "Because they have no choice in the matter."

    Does that extend to other things? I was in a car accident, and the insurance company wanted to total my car and pay me $7000, but I REALLY liked that car, so they should pay me $150,000 for taking it away from me.
    Some dude swiped my iPod, and even though I only paid $40 for it, I really liked it and I think the restitution should be $400, at least. I had to go to my kid's soccer games that weekend with no heavy metal in my ears!
    What if those exact same houses were flooded out. Do we pay them 2, 3, 4 times the market value because they didn't want to leave? Wait... the market value was depressed because people knew they might be flooded. Do we take that into account?

  • EscherEnigma||

    We don't need to take any of that into account because all your examples are a matter of negotiated contract. If you want to be paid more when your stuff is wrecked or stolen, you pay for better insurance.

    But if you don't buy insurance and you wreck your car, your stuff gets stolen, or your house destroyed? The government won't normally bail you out and give you money at all. Notable exceptions are if it was declared a disaster zone or something.

    Eminent domain seizures are not comparable.

  • James Pollock||

    "We don't need to take any of that into account because all your examples are a matter of negotiated contract."

    Your reading skills appear somewhat deficient, if you think "Some dude swiped my iPod, and even though I only paid $40 for it, I really liked it and I think the restitution should be $400, at least" involves a negotiated contract.

  • OldCurmudgeon||

    Some dude swiped my iPod, and even though I only paid $40 for it, I really liked it and I think the restitution should be $400, at least.

    AFAIK, you can get more than FMV for torts, particularly for intentional torts e.g., emotional distress, punitive damages, etc.

  • bernard11||

    It's not a windfall if you don't want to sell.

    There are lots of legitimate reasons why you might not want to.

    1. Moving is a headache. You don't want to deal with the hassle and expense of it, not to mention finding and buying a new place.

    2. You have an easy commute to your job.

    3. You have friends and family nearby.

    4. You like the neighborhood school.

    5. You got your mortgage when rates were lower than they are today. Having to pay that off and get a new higher-interest mortgage for your new place is costly.

    6. Sentimental attachment. That counts too.

    Others.

  • Bob from Ohio||

    1. Moving expenses are often covered

    2,3,4, 6 are not really capable of compensation.

    5. Should they get less if rates are down?

  • bernard11||

    What do you mean they aren't "capable of compensation?"

    Suppose you offered, say, 150% of FMV, to pick a number. Then maybe some of those unwilling to sell for these reasons would turn around and sell, precisely because the extra money compensated them for those values.

    Should they get less if rates are down?

    No. The taking doesn't give them a lower rate. They could always refinance.

    Which brings up another point. Suppose their income has declined a little, and rates have gone up to the point that they won't be able to get a mortgage. That's something else FMV doesn't compensate them for.

  • James Pollock||

    So, Bob, you're arguing that government should spend more, presumably you're OK with them raising taxes on yourself (and me) to pay for it.

    You're a Democrat.

  • bernard11||

    I think Bob is on the side of government here, arguing that someone whose house is taken is only entitled to FMV, plus maybe a few bucks to help out with the move, if it comes to that.

  • MJBinAL||

    No, Bob is not necessarily a Democrat, but you are an idiot.

    The types of things Bob is talking about are common in commercial transactions. They are called consequential damages in some cases. If you wish to sell, you have already determined that these other issues are such that it still benefits you to sell. If you are compelled to sell by the government, you have determined that these other issues are such that it does not benefit you to sell. You should be compensated for the consequential damages associated with a forced transaction.

    In your stupid example with the iPhone, if you had a business and could show that the theft of your phone caused you to lose income, then you should indeed be able to recover (if possible) those losses.

    In your example with the car, if Fred hits your car and damages it, his insurance will be required to pay for your rental car, medical expenses, lost work, the repair or replacement of your car, and sometimes something extra for the hassle you had in dealing with it. In short, the consequential damages associated with the taking.

  • James Pollock||

    "you are an idiot."

    I'll give your assessment the FULL respect it is due.

    "In your stupid example with the iPhone"

    Yeah... uh... I didn't have an example with an iPhone. Doesn't look good for your reading skills.

    "You should be compensated for the consequential damages associated with a forced transaction."

    Sure, except... you DON'T always get consequential damages from a forced transaction, so you still need to come up with a justification for why THIS forced sale includes consequential damages, while THAT one does not, and you haven't bothered to do that.

  • MJBinAL||

    Because, it is a government taking genius. You have the opportunity to use the courts to collect consequential damages in private matters. The reason the insurance industry automatically provides for them is because they are going to be granted at some level by the courts, and so they provide what they expect a court would require anyway.

    Eminent Domain, as currently practiced, does not support consequential damages specifically because it is the government, not a private transaction. And because the laws exclude consequential damages, the courts do not address the lack.

    Why should they be paid, because to do otherwise is to STEAL. You (government) have FORCED the seller to incur costs associated with the transaction that you are unwilling to pay. You should be forced to pay them because to do otherwise is to STEAL.

  • James Pollock||

    "You have the opportunity to use the courts to collect consequential damages in private matters."

    Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

    " The reason the insurance industry automatically provides for them"

    It doesn't.

    "Why should they be paid, because to do otherwise is to STEAL."

    Except, uh, no.
    In some cases you can have consequential damages, and in some cases you don't. The fact that the government is involved doesn't change that.

    For example, if I don't make the payments on my new Ferrarri, they'll come and repossess it, and if I try to go to court to make someone pay for my rental car so I can get to work, the laughter will be audible out on the street. This is ALSO true if I go to bankruptcy court FIRST, file my chapter 13 paperwork, and the trustee decides I can't afford to make the payments on my income and satisfy my other creditors, and orders the car surrendered. This is a case that falls under "You (government) have FORCED the seller to incur costs associated with the transaction that you are unwilling to pay. "

    Good luck with your lawsuit. I'm assuming it's pro se.

  • MJBinAL||

    In all probability, if government takings were required to compensate for the consequential damages, few properties would actually require eminent domain action. The use of eminent domain for these commercial or industrial projects is precisely to lower the cost of the projects by avoiding paying these costs. Offered FMV plus compensation for these consequential costs, most properties could be purchased without eminent domain.

    Eminent domain is commonly used to lower project costs by shunting consequential costs onto others.

  • James Pollock||

    "In all probability [...]"

    In all probability, everything that followed this words was pulled out of your rectal region.

  • MJBinAL||

    Commercial projects are conducted every day with companies purchasing property without eminent domain. Purchases of property not listed for sale, often are transacted at a premium over assessed value.

    So my comments, are not just assertions without support, they are in fact how MOST transactions outside of government are done.

    As an engineer working on such projects, I know this happens on a routine basis. The plant wants to expand, and purchases the adjacent property. This is just how it is done.

  • James Pollock||

    "Commercial projects are conducted every day with companies purchasing property without eminent domain."

    No kidding.

    "So my comments, are not just assertions without support [...]"

    What follows are assertions without support.

    "As an engineer working on such projects"

    Yes, as a business manager, I am ALWAYS sure to run all my financing plans through the engineers first... Nobody knows finance like an engineer, I always say.

  • OldCurmudgeon||

    Objectively, they aren't made whole. They are forced to bear all kinds of costs e.g., expense to pay movers, transaction costs on getting a new mortgage, search costs finding a new home, etc

    And, more generally, FMV is less than their subjective expectations.

  • Krayt||

    I recall at the time there was talk the city would take 30 years to earn back via taxes what it paid out for the land, as an argument it was not worth it. I wonder if it did.

    As I recall they seized a church so they could have a row of hedges at one edge of the parking lot.

  • FlameCCT||

    "President Trump's ill-advised steel tariffs greatly increased production costs at US auto factories, which in turn likely played a role in GM's decision to close down several US-based plants."

    Bullshit! GM's decision to take funding from China while pushing worthless products forced on them by the Obama admin bailout are the main drivers for the closing down of several US-based plants. GM paid off the US bailout with money for China and continued with their previously failed business model.

  • James Pollock||

    The Impala is a product forced on them by Obama? How did they even know back then that Obama would eventually be President, much less let him force them to do anything?

  • MJBinAL||

    The Impala is just another losing car model. The vehicle he is referring to , as you well know, is the Volt.

    You are a piece of work.

  • James Pollock||

    Mr. Genius, they're closing the factory where they used to make the Impala. You have to read all the way to the end of the sentences:

    " The plants made sedans that have waned in popularity, including the Chevrolet Volt, Impala and Cruze, the Buick LaCrosse, and the Cadillac CT6 and XTS. GM said it will no longer make those cars."

  • MJBinAL||

    Yes, they are closing the plant that makes all those products. But during the GM bailout, GM made a big deal out of the Volt. It was the "sell" to the Obama administration of what bailing GM out was going to accomplish. Surely you remember this?

    No one is implying that ALL of the models being discontinued were part of that pitch to the Obama administration, but the pitch was made, the Volt came to market, and sales were poor.

    Now all of these models have sold poorly for years and the Volt never sold well. Plant utilization for these models was WAY below that required to break even. The government sold the stock they had, Obama is out of office, so the Volt is no longer protected and went on the block with the rest of the loser models.

    I actually think the Volt is a cool car, but it is a small car for a lot of money ....even with the subsidy. I am sure GM knew the Volt was not going to sell well, but they were working on it and it helped them get the Obama administration on their side in the bailout.

    They usually make these sort of model decisions a year or more ahead of time, so this decision was probably made, or being made, shortly after Obama left office. Notice Ford made the same sort of decision, but lacking the baggage GM had, made it a year sooner.

  • MJBinAL||

    plants, not plant

  • James Pollock||

    "No one is implying that ALL of the models being discontinued were part of that pitch to the Obama administration"

    Go back to the comment I responded to, and quoted from. To make it easier for you, just look in the part I quoted. Is there a reference to a specific product, or to "products", which is a plural meaning more than one?

    First rule of Internet pedantry: Make sure you're more correct than the person you are attempting to correct. You have failed. Buh-bye.

  • David Bremer||

    Not to get into this stupid fight, but couldn't help but note that the Chevy Volt appeared in 2007, before Obama was president and before anyone thought a bailout would be needed. The production design model appeared in fall 2008, just as the credit crisis was beginning.

    Sure seems to me that Chevy had this in the works long before Obama and only recently pulled it because it can't compete with roughly comparably priced Tesla Model 3.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    roughly comparably priced Tesla Model 3.

    The Volt is $13,000 cheaper than a Model 3. That's hardly "roughly comparable."

  • bernard11||

    No one is implying that ALL of the models being discontinued were part of that pitch to the Obama administration,

    Here's FlameCCT,

    GM's decision to take funding from China while pushing worthless products forced on them by the Obama admin bailout are the main drivers for the closing down of several US-based plants.

    That certainly could be read as implying that all the failed models, or at least more than one, were pushed by Obama.

  • OldCurmudgeon||

    much less let him force them to do anything?

    The "car czar" literally ran GM for awhile.

  • Cloudbuster||

    They're going to give all those people, or their descendants, their property back, right? Right?

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