Monday, April 06, 2009

Bob Corker's Chickens Could Be on the Way Home

Bob Corker in December, beaming with pride at the Auto Show that he had successfully distracted everyone with his complaints about the UAW and his sage advice on how the auto companies should be managed...

"I realize I'm not popular here," he said. "But what I do know is these companies did end up getting the credit and they did end up getting them under similar terms that I offered."

Bob Corker, now that his chickens might be making their way back to Tennessee to roost...

"Certainly, I'm laying a marker out there," Corker said. "I want it to be known (that) my sense is that the only reason they would close it is for political reasons."

Dig faster, Bob.

"It will be interesting to see if the administration makes these decisions based on a red (Republican) state and blue (Democratic) state strategy, or based on efficiency and capable, skilled workers at each plant. If they use the latter, our GM plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee, should do very well," Corker said.

So, if Bob's state loses out due to the conditions that he fought for, obviously it's a "political" decision. Too bad for Bob that the facts point out that Lansing could easily take on the production of the Spring Hill plant, now operating way below capacity.

With GM's remaining plants under-utilized because auto sales are at their weakest level in three decades, Spring Hill could suddenly be vulnerable, industry analysts suggest. That's the case even though the carmaker spent $690 million to upgrade the facility in 2007 to prepare to build the new Chevrolet Traverse crossover utility vehicle, which went into production last fall.

Sales of the Traverse have been below expectations, and the Spring Hill plant is operating at an estimated 24 percent of capacity.

Erich Merkle, a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based auto analyst, thinks Spring Hill could be jettisoned in favor of GM's newest plant in Lansing, Mich., which makes vehicles similar to the Traverse and has excess capacity to take over Spring Hill's current production.

See? Just following that "free market" standard that you fought for, Senator Corker. It's a just business decision, one that you should applaud, one that you probably would applaud if the situation were reversed.

Unless, of course, it was a political game to you all along...

Hopes are that GM can keep both plants operational and keep those people employed. Perhaps Bob might want to help us out in that regard now that he decided that he really doesn't want his chickens after all.