General Motors Company today promised to spend $483 million of taxpayer money and return 483 jobs of the 2,000 lost to its former Saturn plant complex in Spring Hill Tennessee.
There’s a catch though. This investment assumes successful “incentive negotiations” with local and state officials, according to Mark Reuss, GM North America President.
That these negotiations were not completed ahead of today’s press conference shows how leery elected officials are of a taxpayer revolt that is underway less than two months before the mid-term Congressional elections. Another – perhaps more plausible – theory is that the incentives are likely in place, but the politicians don’t want to admit to them before November.
As TDB previously reported, the jobs come from building current – and ultimately next-generation – Ecotec four-cylinder engines, as GM shifts its emphasis from larger and more fuel thirsty V6 and V8 engines. If the deal comes off, GM would triple its North American production volume of four-cylinder engines with direct injection technology by 2012 when more stringent fuel economy rules start to take hold. (See Unloved Ex Saturn Plant to Get New Ecotec Engine)
In a statement GM claimed that the additional work would bring to almost $2.9 billion the amount of new U.S. investment and 7,417 jobs that GM has created or retained in 20 U.S. plants since emerging from a controversial taxpayer financed – more than $50 billion – bankruptcy in July 2009. (Hundreds of thousands of GM jobs were eliminated during the past two years, if you’re keeping score.) Employees filling these positions will be recalled in accordance with the United Auto Workers-GM National Labor agreement, which favors seniority not performance.