SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) -- Hundreds of people toured the General Motors Shreveport Assembly plant as part of a yearlong national event in which the company says it is expressing appreciation for public support.
City officials proclaimed Thursday "GM Shreveport Assembly Plant Appreciation Day" and used the tour event to praise GM.
Though many speaking before the tours began sounded optimistic about the future, GM's Shreveport plant is still slated to close no later than June 2012. Plant Manager Michael Dulaney said in The Times of Shreveport that there's been no news suggesting any change in that plan.
At its peak production in 1984, GM's Shreveport plant employed 3,200 people. Now, the plant maintains 869 employees.
"America without GM is like America without apple pie, without George Washington and the cherry tree, without Abraham Lincoln," said Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover. "Hopefully, in the not-too-distant future, we'll find out how the future will keep being built here."
Leon Collins, a retired plant employee, said the new facility is significantly more automated than it used to be. He said it will be a big disappointment to see so much space and machinery unused after the plant shuts down.
Visitors moved in small groups through the 3.17 million-square-foot facility as vehicles were put together from the ground up, tested and rolled out of the factory.
"It's great to get to see the inside of a place like this, but it's sad to see it'll probably go away next year," said local businessman James Ginn. "I hope GM reconsiders losing this very modern and clean factory."