John Pepitone, edited by Jason Vaughn
7:30 PM EDT, June 13, 2011
KANSAS CITY, Kan.
General Motors is re-investing in the Fairifax Plant in Kansas City, Kan. The company plans to make $20 million worth of changes to the plant to help with their building of the Buick Lacrosse. They're adding E-assist technology which will help make the Buick Lacrosse into a hybrid.
The electric technology combined with the gas engine will help boost fuel economy of the full size sedan by 25 percent to 37 miles per gallon. Officials say it will also help retain more than 4,000 jobs in the Kansas City-area.
"We're committed to investing in manufacturing jobs in the United States," said GM Manufacturing manager James Glynn.
The investment has renewed debate over whether the government should have bailed out General Motors. Kansas Governor Sam Brownback voted against the $700-billion bailout package when he was a U.S. Senator, but now concedes saving GM was the right thing to do.
"The stock price is about half what it needs to be for the federal government to make back its money. I do know if the federal government hadn't helped through that credible cliff, and it was a falloff of sales of vehicles, you probably aren't looking at a GM at all. I don't like this. I don't like the idea that you've got the government stepping in to do these things, but when you've got this incredible situation, what do you do?" said Brownback.
Kansas City, Kansas, Mayor Joe Reardon lobbied hard for saving the automaker, and now he says that it's paying off.
"What we needed was an investment in this plant, and in GM and the good men and women that work here. Today is proof positive that it was an investment, (and) that investment is keeping good people at work and families thriving," said Reardon.
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