Last GM car rolls off NUMMI line

August 18, 2009 11:46:47 PM PDT
It's one of those historic milestones that people who work in the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc., or the NUMMI, plant had hoped they would never see -- the last, pure General Motors car rolling off the assembly line. They expected it to happen in October, but instead it happened in August.

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Sources confirm that it happened, last night at 8 p.m. when the plant built its last Pontiac Vibe. The ending had been in the works for several weeks. Sources say they knew it was coming because the parts had stopped arriving. This marks the end of General Motors at a plant dating back well before NUMMI, to the early 1960s.

And now, the end of Pontiac makes the plant's relationship with Toyota even more crucial. There had been reports from multiple sources that Toyota may stop production of Corollas and light trucks at NUMMI by March of next year.

That would mean hard times for the plant's 4,200 United Auto Workers. They are Toyota's only UAW employees in this country, and the unions are trying to keep it that way.

Thursday, members plan a rally outside the union hall to show Toyota that they really want to make this work.

Henry Knighton will be among them. Both he and his wife have jobs on the assembly lines. They bought a new house, last year. If NUMMI closes, they will lose, not one income, but two.

"It is our only source of income. Most people have a wife or someone who doesn't work here, so maybe if the plant closes, they might be a little stable. But with us, both of us working here, that will hit us hard," said Knightley.

ABC7 asked union members what concessions they might be willing to make to keep the plant here. They said they just want a starting point in discussions with Toyota. Toyota has said in the meantime only that it would like to make a decision soon on the fate of the pant.

Still, this is complicated because the old General Motors owned half of it. So, any decision they make, any deal they make, will involve liquidators.

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