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FCA plant

Proposed new FCA plant would be biggest new plant in Michigan in years

If OK'd, automaker could create up to 5,000 new jobs

Tuesday’s announcement that Fiat Chrysler could bring up to 5,000 new jobs to Detroit — should a series of proposals, including a 200-acre land acquisition, be approved — would make a new plant the largest new automotive facility in Michigan in more than 30 years, and one of the largest new automotive plants in the United States.

FCA is looking to build an all-new plant as part of an expansion of its Mack Avenue complex. In the last decade, there have only been three new automotive plants built in the United States — all in the South, and all for international automakers.

The most recent plant, a Mazda/Toyota facility, was built in Huntsville, Ala., in 2018. Prior to that, two plants came on line in 2011: A Toyota plant in Blue Springs, Miss., and a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Here in Michigan, a new automotive plant hasn’t been built since 2006, when General Motors opened its Lansing Delta Plant and created 2,200 jobs. Prior to that, GM opened a Lansing plant in 2001, bringing 2,000 jobs; Chrysler opened the Jefferson North Assembly Plant in 1991, bringing 4,500 jobs; Ford opened its Flat Rock plant in 1987, bringing 2,000 jobs; and GM opened Poletown, which we can all agree didn’t work out well in the long run, in 1985, bringing 1,600 jobs.

Fred Borden, an FCA employee who lives near the Mack Complex in Detroit, says the 5,000 jobs will create a ripple effect for residents who don’t work in the plants.

“(Now there’s) parts jobs, I can go work in the parts plant. Then, we got some bright young entrepreneurs. (I) want to start my hair salon, (I) want to start a spa, (I) want to open a barbershop. Those people can do that, and those people working inside the plant can spend their money right there.

“One hand feeds the other, and it keeps the community going,” Borden added.