Detroit/Hamtramck Assembly

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Detroit/Hamtramck Assembly is a General Motors (GM) automobile assembly plant straddling the border between Detroit and Hamtramck, Michigan. It is located about three miles (five km) from GM's corporate headquarters, and currently builds vehicles for GM's Chevrolet, Cadillac, Opel/Vauxhall, and Holden divisions. The plant has built vehicles for GM's "BOC" (Buick/Oldsmobile/Cadillac) Group when the facility opened. The first vehicle, a Cadillac Eldorado rolled off the assembly line on February 4, 1985[1] In 2013, the plant employed approximately 1,600 people.[2]

History[edit]

The 362 acres (1.46 km2) site was home to a large Polish community that was part of an area that is sometimes referred to as Poletown. 4,200 residents, 1,400 homes, several churches (including Immaculate Conception Church) and 140 businesses, including a disused Chrysler's Dodge Main factory were located on the proposed site. The acquisition of part of the property through eminent domain, and clearing of this section of the neighborhood was the subject of various protests and court battles. Eventually the case went to the Michigan Supreme Court which ruled in favor of General Motors stating that economic development is a legitimate use of eminent domain. Detroit Mayor Coleman Young sided with GM, seeking new jobs and investment.

While some residents protested, others supported the efforts to build the new plant. Gary Campbell, a Poletown resident and bar owner, accused those opposing the new plant of presenting opinions of a small minority as if they represented the entire neighborhood. The controversy led to national news attention and the involvement of Ralph Nader and the Gray Panthers. Protests centered around the Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church. The regional Catholic Archdiocese supported the relocations and had already agreed to sell the two Catholic churches that were in the area. However, Joseph Karasiewicz, the priest at one of the parishes defied his local Cardinal and fought to keep his building from being sold. The Archdiocese stood firm in its support of the sale. A 29-day sit-in at the Immaculate Conception Church came to an end on July 14, 1981 when police forcibly evicted 20 people from the church. Twelve people were arrested, only three of the twelve arrested were from Poletown. Shortly afterward, the site targeted for the plant was razed and construction began on the new $500 million auto assembly plant.[3]

The controversy inspired at least one short film: "Poletown Lives!"[4]

A small Jewish cemetery, Beth Olem occupies part of the grounds of the G.M. Assembly. The older pre-existing auto plant parking lot engulfed the small cemetery long before General Motors built the new assembly plant. Visitation is currently limited to twice a year on the Sundays preceding Rosh Hashana and Passover.[5][6]

Since opening in 1985, more than 3 million vehicles have been built at the plant.[7]

Cadillac K-body production was consolidated there in the 1990s/ The Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly later received the contract for the production of Chevrolet Volt, which uses the Delta II/Voltec body.

On April 21, 2010 GM announced it would invest $121 million into the Detroit/Hamtramck factory to ensure GM could keep up with the demand for the next generation Chevrolet Malibu[8] In May 2011, GM announced it would invest $69 million in the plant for the Chevrolet Impala[9]

In 2013, pre-production of the Cadillac ELR (A Cadillac equivalent of the Chevrolet Volt) began.

Products[edit]

Current (model years)[edit]

Future (model years)[edit]

Past (model years)[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]