Brown Points to New $47 Million Investment in GM's Defiance Plant as Evidence of Continued Recovery of American Auto Industry

Brown Joined President Obama Last Week at Chrysler’s Toledo Supplier Park; New Investment Will Retain More Than 200 Jobs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) released the following statement today after General Motors announced that it will invest $47 million into its Defiance Powertrain plant to purchase tooling and equipment to increase volume of components for its fuel-efficient Ecotec 1.4 liter engine. The investment will help retain more than 200 jobs.

 “It seems that not a week goes by without more good news for the American auto industry in Ohio. In the past year, we’ve seen new investments and jobs in Defiance, hundreds of new positions at GM’s Toledo transmission facility, and a third shift with over 1,000 new jobs in Lordstown,” Brown said. “Without the critical decision to invest in GM and Chrysler, however, the news would have been far different. Today’s announcement is more proof that the auto restructuring was the right call for Ohio, and I applaud General Motors for investing in the Defiance facility and bringing new jobs and economic activity to northwest Ohio.”

According to a 2010 study by the Center for Automotive Research, more than 792,000 Ohio jobs depend on the auto industry; this figure includes 120,285 direct employment (people employed directly by auto industry: 39,685 by automakers and 80,600 by parts suppliers); 276,330 indirect employment (jobs indirectly employed by automakers or parts suppliers: 167,891 by automakers and 108,439 by parts suppliers); and 395,981 spin-off employment (expenditure-induced employment resulting from spending by direct and intermediate employees; 221,018 by automakers and 174,963 by suppliers). A 2011 study by the Center for Automotive Research found that 164,654 jobs in 2009 would have been lost in Ohio if the auto industry had not been rescued.

Brown released a map showing the location of auto component manufacturers for two popular cars assembled in Ohio: General Motors’ Chevy Cruze and Chrysler’s Jeep Wrangler. The map shows the extent of Ohio components utilized in both models – and how investment in the auto industry has helped boost demand for Ohio-made parts:

  • Chrysler’s Jeep Wrangler: Prior to the auto rescue, only 55 percent of the parts in Chrysler’s Jeep Wrangler were made in America. Today, 70 percent of the Jeep Wrangler is American-made – with many parts made in Ohio. The glass is made in Crestline, the steering column in Perrysburg, the seats in Northwood, the hard top in Carey, and cargo components in Holmesville.
  • GM’s Chevy Cruze: Prior to the auto rescue, in November 2008, 1,000 workers at GM’s Lordstown plant were laid off. Today, nearly 5,000 people – including another shift of workers – build the Chevy Cruze, one of the hottest selling cars in the nation.  The Cruze’s tires are manufactured in Akron, its wheels in Cleveland, its seats in Warren, engine blocks in Defiance, metal in Parma, transmission in Toledo, and speakers in Springboro.

A full copy of Brown’s analysis can be found here.

Last week, President Obama and Brown traveled to Toledo, where they toured Chrysler Group’s Toledo Supplier Park and spoke with manufacturing workers. The President also heard first-hand from local business owners and residents about the importance of the auto industry resurgence to the community as a whole and the economic devastation it would have faced had Chrysler been allowed to fail.

About the Auto Industry’s Recovery

Recently, the National Economic Council released a new report on the resurgence of the American automotive industry. In the year before GM and Chrysler filed for bankruptcy, the auto industry shed more than 400,000 jobs.  Had President Obama failed to intervene, conservative estimates suggest that it would have cost at least an additional one million jobs and devastated vast parts of our nation’s industrial heartland.  Since GM and Chrysler Group emerged from bankruptcy in June 2009, the auto industry has added 115,000 jobs – the fastest pace of job growth in the auto industry since 1998. Last week – more than six years ahead of schedule – Chrysler Group repaid the government its outstanding loans. The repayment brought the total amount taxpayer dollars returned to $10.6 billion, which represents a full recovery on the resources committed by the Obama Administration. Chrysler Group’s Toledo operations employ more than 1,700 workers producing the Jeep® Wrangler, Jeep Liberty, and Dodge Nitro. Tier 1 suppliers for the Wrangler also support an additional 3,000 American jobs.

Brown has been an outspoken advocate for Ohio’s auto industry. In November of 2008, he introduced S. 3175, the Auto Industry Emergency Bridge Loan Act, with a bipartisan group of colleagues. In December 2008, Brown fought to ensure that funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) were allocated to aid the Big 3 and American auto suppliers—despite near-unanimous opposition from most House and Senate Republicans. At the start of 2009, Brown applauded President Obama’s decision to advance restructuring plans to ensure the viability of the American auto industry.

Brown last visited GM’s Defiance plant in March 2010. Last April, GM announced nearly 200 new jobs for GM Powertrain to produce its fifth-generation small block engine, and in February 2010, an additional 80 jobs to build the Ecotec engine.

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