Last week, General Motors announced its intention to cut 14,000 jobs and close five of its North American plants in 2019. The automaker made the decision as part of a company-wide “global restructuring” process that will trim costs, though many consider the move to be part of an effort to enhance production in Mexico. As GM aims to save $6 billion by the end of 2020, five separate cities are about to experience a major shift in their local economies and take on newly-barren industrial landscapes. The plants expected to turn idle early next year include three factories: the Lordstown Assembly in Warren, Ohio; the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly in Detroit; and the Oshawa Assembly in Ontario, Canada. Two transmission plants will also cease operations including one in White Marsh, Maryland, and another in Warren, Michigan. As the company only has 35 facilities in the U.S., this hit will be felt at the national level, but even more so in the small- to mid-size towns where many of these facilities have boosted jobs for decades or longer. The Oshawa plant came online in 1907 while the one in Warren, Michigan, opened in 1941. The Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly, which began production in 1985, received local, state, and federal subsidies to open its doors and completely altered the city of Detroit. Jalopnik recounted the tragic story of GM’s move to the Motor City where the Detroit-Hamtramck facility’s initial development cleared 465 acres containing 1,300 homes, stores, churches, and hospitals in a Polish immigrant-neighborhood called Poletown. The youngest factory on the list, GM Baltimore Operations in White Marsh, opened in 2000. A $245 million structure was built next door just six years ago, adding 110,500 square feet to the existing 471,000-square-foot facility. According to the Baltimore Sun, it was the first electric motor production facility operated by a major U.S. automaker. The project was subsidized by a $106 million U.S. Department of Energy grant. Though former GM leadership wasn’t aware that less than a decade later this massive investment would go idle, the company’s sudden decision to shut down some of its oldest and newest facilities, begs the question: How will these towns bounce back? Some larger cities like Atlanta and New York have managed to reuse large, vacant industrial spaces, but it remains to be seen whether these smaller towns with shuttering GM facilities can pull that off given they don't have the population demand or the financial resources. As these locales transition over the next year, they’ll be forced to begin considering just how long these sites will remain unoccupied. Since opening, they’ve served as homes away from home for thousands of autoworkers who’ve helped bring steady money to their respective local economies. The closure of these plants, along with the millions of invested dollars that GM, the federal government, and these towns have made within the last 100 years, will come at a huge cost.
Posts tagged with "General Motors":
The School of Visual Arts (SVA) is hosting a lecture on women designers who influenced the blueprint of the modern automobile. "Women and Cars" explores the historical and stylistic development of the car through the women who took it from its humble beginnings as a horseless carriage to the "objet de luxe of the 1920s." Conducted by design writer Russell Flinchum, Associate Professor at the College of Design at North Carolina State University, the lecture is set to honor former SVA faculty member and design critic Phil Patton whose fascination with cars informed a large part of his writing career. Flinch plans to look at the "concours d'elegance" by featuring haute couture clothing alongside equally chic cars. In the post-war period, being seen to have "good taste" was no more evident in the cars of General Motors. Under the "GM System," design executive Harley Earl created an automobile aesthetic that we've come to associate with a certain period in American history. To many, the 1950s "Damsels in Design" advertisements created by Earl are seen as the starting point for examining women's contributions to the modern automobile. The "damsels" were nine women designers from Pratt Institute that Earl selected to model with GM cars, and their presence was meant to appeal to women who managed their household's purchases. By going back in the archives, SVA is exploring a period in time that is reflective of a revolutionary decade in automobile history. The talk is set to take place Tuesday, March 22 at the SVA Department of Design Research, Writing and Criticism (136 West 21st Street).
When the Future had Fins: American Automotive Designs and Concepts, 1959-1973 Christopher West Mount Gallery, Pacific Design Center 8687 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood, CA Through May 20 Once upon a time the American car industry was king. Nothing captures the prestige, aspirations, and mythology of Detroit’s heyday quite like the working sketches and drawings used to develop and promote the land boats we used to call automobiles. A new show at Christopher W. Mount Gallery focuses on sketches from designers at the “Big Three”—General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler—from 1959 to 1973, when those companies were as important as Google, Apple, and Facebook. The sleek, colorful cars with their dynamic angles and large hoods capture the sexiness and muscle that is long gone in today’s car culture. Visionaries like Ford’s John Samsen and GM’s Bill Michalak had a mastery and an expressive craftsmanship on paper that is far removed from the digitized and sanitized world of 21st century rendering.
While its product development teams and manufacturing facilities will remain in Michigan, Cadillac will move its headquarters to downtown New York City from Detroit, parent company General Motors announced Tuesday. A new office in Soho will house the “majority of functions with oversight and responsibility for both global and U.S.” starting next year, GM said in a statement. The iconic car brand is currently based in the Renaissance Center, whose towers define the skyline of Detroit. As such, the move is likely to rankle some who have seen the real estate rebound in downtown Detroit as a cause for celebration amid increasingly dire prospects for the Motor City, which last year became the largest U.S. municipality to file for bankruptcy in the nation's history. Cadillac's decreasing sales and struggle to stand out among GM's brands are key challenges for the company's new president, Johan de Nysschen, who joined the company last month from the Infiniti division of Nissan.
A Little Help from Friends. You can generate beautiful images in Revit. Marc Teer of Black Spectacles says that with a little patience and help from other programs, pretty pictures are possible. Teer advises that certain elements, such as line weight, take a little legwork, but other elements, such as the level of detail, can be managed within the program. Finally, take it over to Illustrator and InDesign to clean up overlaps and polish your drawing off with a wider array of fancy font choices. Public Transit. Who says Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey doesn't endorse alternative transportation? The Star Ledger reports that the governor rode a spanking new State Police helicopter to his son's baseball game yesterday. Branding Transit. If all of us had a state funded helicopter at our disposal, we wouldn't have to be convinced to take public transportation, but, alas... A new report from EMBARQ says that if public transport wants to compete with General Motors, then it had better go toe to toe with GM's $21 billion advertising budget. The World Resources Institute gives an overview of the report. (Via Planetizen.) Fill 'er up. The World Trade Center is doing just swell, thank you very much. With Anna Wintour and Graydon Carter planning to pull up in their big black Town Cars, Crain's reports that now UBS may pluck their staff from their Stamford, CT locale and put them up in one of the downtown towers.