EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm told reporters Wednesday that the state is "being as aggressive as we have ever been" to land the roughly 1,200 jobs that would come with producing small cars for General Motors Corp.
GM is considering moving production of a new subcompact car from Asia to plants in Orion Township, Mich., Spring Hill, Tenn., or Janesville, Wis. The plants are scheduled to go on standby later this year or are already closed.
"These small vehicles are not something that the auto companies have built in the United States to this point. That's why we're going to go after it, and we're going to show that it can be done in a competitive fashion," Granholm said.
Granholm spokeswoman Liz Boyd won't give details of what Michigan is proposing, but said last week that the state's economic woes -- including an unemployment rate that hit 14.1 percent in May -- "make this project all that more important. We cannot afford to be penny-wise and pound foolish."
All 17 members of Michigan's congressional delegation sent a letter Wednesday to GM outlining the reasons why using the Orion Township assembly plant is a sound business decision.
"The Orion facility has a number of strengths," the letter said, including being near suppliers and GM's Detroit headquarters. The plant already uses methane gas from nearby landfills for power and has "a large number of highly trained and highly skilled auto workers, engineers, and other critical employees in the area," it added.
The delegation made the point that GM plans to close or put on standby seven of its Michigan factories by the end of 2010, including three in Oakland County, home to the Orion Township plant. It said GM could mitigate some of the consequences for workers and surrounding communities by moving production of its subcompact car to Michigan.
The delegation expects GM will announce a decision on where it will locate the factory by the end of June or early July.