GM Narrows Search For Plant To Build New Small Car

WASHINGTON (AP) -- General Motors Corp. said Wednesday that it has narrowed down the locations where it could build its new small car to factories in either Michigan, Tennessee or Wisconsin.

GM officials traveled to Washington to meet with delegations from the three states to discuss selection criteria. The automaker is considering plants in Orion Township, Mich., Spring Hill, Tenn., or Janesville, Wis., as possible sites.

Troy Clarke, president of GM's North American operations, said a decision on where the small car would be built should come within a few weeks.

"Part of the reason we're here is we want to get on with doing this as quickly as we can ... so I can tell you its a decision that's made in weeks, not months," he said. "It's something we want to do right away, as quickly as we can."

The plants under consideration in Michigan and Tennessee are set to end production this fall but will remain on "standby," meaning workers can be called back if the company needs to increase production. The Wisconsin plant shut down in April.

Emerging from a meeting with Tennessee officials -- the first of three meetings with state and federal delegations on Wednesday -- Clarke said he wanted to lay out what GM was looking for in a new site.

"I think a lot of (the discussion) was just getting an understanding," he said. "We wanted to make ourselves available to answer questions at whatever level of detail the state delegations wanted."

Rep. Lincoln Davis, D-Tenn., who represents Spring Hill in Congress, said he was satisfied after meeting with GM officials.

"With the investment that GM has made and that we may make in the future ... (Spring Hill) is in a good position to be a strong player for the location," he said.

He added, "I think the new GM is looking at how we make cars at a cost efficient way. I think GM is very serious about that."

GM originally planned to build a new small car in China. Last month it said it would build it in the U.S. as a union concession.

GM has been operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection since last week.

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