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. When the facility opened, it built vehicles for GM's "BOC" (Buick/Oldsmobile/Cadillac) Group. The first vehicle, a Cadillac Eldorado, rolled off the assembly line on February 4, 1985.
The plant currently builds vehicles for GM's Chevrolet and Cadillac divisions and employs approximately 1,600 people. Since opening in 1985, more than 4 million vehicles have been built at the plant.
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 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 investments.
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. The controversy inspired at least one short film: "Poletown Lives!"
A small Jewish cemetery, Beth Olem, occupies part of the grounds of the GM 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.
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. In May 2011, GM announced it would invest $69 million in the plant for the Chevrolet Impala.
Current (model years)
- Cadillac CT6 2016–present
- Cadillac ELR 2014–present
- Chevrolet Impala 2014–present
- Chevrolet Malibu 2013–present
- Chevrolet Volt 2011–present
Future (model years)
- Buick LaCrosse (2017)
Past (model years)
- Holden Volt 2013–2015
- Opel/Vauxhall Ampera 2012–2015
- Buick Lucerne 2006-2011
- Cadillac DTS 2006-2011
- Pontiac Bonneville 2004-2005
- Buick LeSabre 2000-2005
- Cadillac DeVille 1994-2005
- Buick Riviera 1988-1993
- Oldsmobile Toronado 1988-1992
- Cadillac Allante 1987-1993
- Cadillac Seville 1986-2004
- Cadillac Eldorado 1986-2000
- http://www.multinationalmonitor.org/hyper/issues/1983/07/review.html Review of Poletown.
- Marwil, Milton (Winter 1992/Kislev 5753). Cantor, Judith Levin, ed. "The True Story of the Cemetery in the General Motors Parking Lot" (PDF). Michigan Jewish History (Jewish Historical Society of Michigan) 33: 30. Archived (PDF) from the original on May 9, 2014. Retrieved May 6, 2014. Check date values in:
- Congregation Shaarey Zedek, Clover Hill Park Cemetery. "Urban farming in Brightmoor Gardens: Neighbors sow change in Detroit." Retrieved on April 18, 2012.
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (August 2008)|
- Scott Miner; Richard L. Waddell (June 1985). "GM goes high-tech in the inner city - Poletown". Ward's Auto World. Archived from the original on 2007-02-10.
- Drew Winter (Nov 1991). "Update: the machines that didn't change the world - robots in the automobile industry". Ward's Auto World. Archived from the original on 2005-05-10.
- "Condemn nation". The (Colorado Springs) Gazette (August 4, 2004).
- "GM Commits to Volt Production in Detroit-Hamtramck, Michigan 2010". Retrieved 2008-09-22.