TWINSBURG, Ohio (AP) -- A stamping plant near Cleveland is the Ohio auto factory most likely to feel the reverberations of a possible merger of General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC.
The companies continued Tuesday to discuss a potential merger amid an economic downturn, weak auto sales and hardships for the companies.
The Twinsburg stamping plant is one of four Chrysler factories that employ a total of about 5,000 in the state. General Motors has nine factories in Ohio that employ about 11,700.
The future of the Twinsburg site under different ownership is cloudy, because the current trend in automobile manufacturing is to integrate stamping plants with vehicle assembly plants, said Ned Hill, professor of economic development at Cleveland State University.
Chrysler is the largest employer in Twinsburg, providing 1,000 jobs and 18 percent of the tax base in the small city about 20 miles southeast of Cleveland.
Mayor Katherine Procop said she hopes the stamping plant, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year and has been upgraded with modern technology, will remain viable. The plant makes parts for Chrysler's minivans, trucks and other vehicles.
"They are an important corporation here," Procop said. "It should continue to have a long future here."
Analysts have said government funding might be needed to help spark a combination of Chrysler and GM because of difficult economic conditions and frozen credit markets.
A GM acquisition of Chrysler could cost 30,000 or more Chrysler jobs because GM would be forced to eliminate duplication and may be interested only in Chrysler's minivans and the Jeep brand, industry analysts have said.
"No matter what happens, south Ontario (Canada) and Michigan will be in a world of hurt," said Ned Hill, professor of economic development at Cleveland State University. Those areas have Chrysler and GM plants near each other making competing products.
The iconic Jeep brand needs an injection of new models but likely will be manufactured no matter what happens to Chrysler, Hill said. That bodes well for the Toledo area, where there is a Jeep factory, he said.
Chrysler employs about 49,000 in the U.S. and has roughly 125,000 pensioners. GM has 177,000 U.S. workers and around 500,000 people receiving pensions.
For each auto manufacturing job, there are at least seven jobs with parts makers and other support companies, according to the Center for Automotive Research in Michigan.
Hill said it would be difficult and costly for GM to downsize Chrysler's extensive dealer network.