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Buick City was a massive automobile manufacturing complex in the northeast of Flint, Michigan. Elements of the 235-acre (950,000 m2) complex dated from 1904, where all aspects of Buick vehicles were constructed, and it became known as Buick City in 1985. Operations ceased completely in 2010. The site was vacated by GM employees and site responsibilities were transferred to Motors Liquidation Company as of December 6, 2010. The final cars built at Buick City were the Pontiac Bonneville and the Buick LeSabre. Manufacturing operations were transferred to Orion Assembly.
The original factory at one time was the largest in the world, consisting of 24 separate buildings contributing to the manufacturing process, until 1928 when the Ford River Rouge Plant was completed and began operations. In the beginning, all components were manufactured in one location, to include wheel bearings, nuts, bolts, and screws, to transmissions, suspension components, wheels and interior components. Operations were carried out in this fashion well into the 1940s and beyond.
After World War II, when vehicle production resumed, Buick City was the primary location where all components were created, with Knock-down kits distributed to assembly plants in major metropolitan US cities, where the vehicles were locally assembled and distributed in their respective regions.
The plant originated with Buick before the formation of General Motors. Other elements were built by early manufacturers and suppliers like Fisher Body. The Buick City concept represented a successful attempt by General Motors to experiment with just-in-time manufacturing methods in response to Japanese manufacturers. The experiment included successes: The 1989 Buick LeSabre built in Buick City was ranked the top car in the J.D. Power and Associates rankings for that year; it was the first American built car to appear on the list. In 1999, the year the plant was closed, Buick City won J. D. Power's Platinum Award for assembly plant quality . As of 2016, it is the only General Motors plant to win the award. The closing of GM's manufacturing plants in Flint, and its subsequent economic toll on the community was chronicled in Michael Moore's documentary film, Roger & Me.
In 2013, American Cast Iron Pipe Co. announced plans to construct a new 200,000 square foot manufacturing plant on the former Buick City complex.
In pop culture
- "General Motors closes Buick City complex in Flint, Michigan". World Socialist. Retrieved May 10, 2005.
- Demolition photos
- JD Powers and Associates from Answers.com
- All Things Buick Blog about factory and worker's history
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