News

GM phase-out at NUMMI plant could affect Pleasanton workers

Fremont joint venture employs 4,700 making Toyota, GM vehicles

General Motors has announced that it plans to end its 25-year joint venture with Toyota to make cars at the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. (NUMMI) plant in Fremont.

The NUMMI plant employs a number of salaried personnel who live in Pleasanton, although the exact number has not been released.

Troy Clarke, the president of GM North America, said in a statement, "As part of its long-term viability plan, General Motors has decided that its ownership stake in the New United Motor Manufacturing Incorporated joint venture with Toyota will not be a part of the 'New GM'."

"After extensive analysis, GM and Toyota could not reach an agreement on a future product plan that made sense for all parties," Clarke said. "Accordingly, NUMMI will end production of vehicles for GM in August, and there are no future GM vehicles planned for the joint venture at this time."

NUMMI spokesman Lance Tomasu also released a statement.

"We are sorry that GM has decided not to carry its interest in NUMMI forward to the New GM," Tomasu said. "It may take some time before the future of NUMMI is determined."

Tomasu said NUMMI will focus on building Toyota Corolla cars, Toyota Tocoma trucks and Pontiac Vibe cars "as well as reducing our operating costs."

However, GM had previously announced that it would stop making Vibe cars in August.

The NUMMI plant employs 4,700 workers. Tomasu declined to comment on their fate, saying that the company isn't doing any interviews.

Jeb Bing, Bay City News

Comments

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Posted by Very Concerned
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2009 at 8:38 am

Toyota products will continue to be built there. Spelling correction: Tacoma, not Tocoma.


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Posted by Einstein
a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Jul 7, 2009 at 9:55 am

Einstein is a registered user.

Should prove interesting in that the Tacoma and Corolla are both made at other plants in the US and neither of those plants are running anywhere near capacity so I would imagine since the state has not always been friendly to industry that they could look elsewhere and GM leaving gives the opportunity to close it down.


Like this comment
Posted by P-Towner
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2009 at 10:29 am

Einstein, points taken.
If you are a global warming alarmist, or one who wants to increase taxes on corporations, you should be dancing in the streets. The rest of us will be looking for ways to convince Toyota to stay in Alameda County and continue to build excellent vehicles.


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Posted by Einstein
a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Jul 7, 2009 at 10:34 am

Einstein is a registered user.

P-Towner,

don't believe in either global warming nor higher taxes. Just pointing out that significant cost concessions will be in order by the union in order to keep it open as there volumes have reduced from over 400,000 3 years ago down to less than 200,000 and they have not laid off one worker and for that Toyota deserves big kudos but now GM has stiffed them again.


Like this comment
Posted by P-Towner
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2009 at 10:58 am

Einstein, Sorry about that. My comments were not directed at you. I should have used a text break, like ________ or //////////.

Einstein, as usual, you make excellent points about what needs to happen next. What the union(s) does next at NUMMI will be interesting to observe.


Like this comment
Posted by Einstein
a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Jul 7, 2009 at 11:02 am

Einstein is a registered user.

I believe I read in the paper that the union contract expires this summer and if true I bet they are pulling the negotiations up earlier as that is what I would do to encourage future business and investment. On another vein of thought I was reading about that company Tesla Motors and I believe they have good technology but are probably poor at MFG so I wonder if Toyota would consider partnering with them at the Fremont site in order to increase annual capacity? Almost 6,000 folks work at that plant so the impact of closure would be huge and sad.


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Posted by Very Concerned
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2009 at 11:11 am

The Tesla angle is interesting. They must be aware of the NUMMI situation and I would be shocked if they were not already in talks with Toyota.

Check this out, from a recent Mercury News article:

"Last year, Tesla announced it would build a 500-worker assembly plant in San Jose, but then said in January that it would instead find an existing building to retrofit and would be looking for a new location." Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by Very Concerned
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2009 at 11:17 am

On the other hand, Tesla may want nothing to do with a union operation, since a union made product will add cost to the product. Union workers will also be less productive than non-union workers. The quality of the product will also be lower.

I make these points based on the past record of union verses non-union auto production in the United States.


Like this comment
Posted by Einstein
a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Jul 7, 2009 at 2:53 pm

Einstein is a registered user.

Very concerned, you make some interesting points but on the other hand the more I thought about it (Tesla) the less sense it actually makes and this is what I mean. Toyota is already the worlds largest producer of environmentally friendly vehicles so why would they need Tesla at all when they are already working on their own battery technology, or fuel cell. They already make and sell the hybrid systems which Ford puts in their cars. The bigger issues at NUMMI are volume, way to many workers for the volume, extremely high hourly rate, defined benefit plan, and worst of all as you mentioned is the union and the limitations in flexibility which are created in a UAW environment. Very tough situation to say the least and also not to mentioned to very tight environmental standards imposed by the BAAQMD.


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Posted by Very Concerned
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2009 at 3:26 pm

It really is amazing that NUMMI operated so long with so few labor issues, at least as far as I'm aware of.

I certainly hope Toyota stays and builds cars there. Isn't it the only major vehicle assembly plant (left) in the western United States?


Like this comment
Posted by Einstein
a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Jul 7, 2009 at 3:55 pm

Einstein is a registered user.

Very concerned,

To my knowledge, Toyota is the only company with plants west of Missouri with plants in San Antonio, BAJA, and Vancouver. I believe the key will be how the union issue is dealt with and how quickly it can be worked out as without a doubt wages and benefits will need to be reduced in order to give the company any chance of viability. Toyota seems to be very good to their employees so this has to be a gut wrenching decision for them as well. There is an interesting article out in Bloomberg about the Obama Administration insisting that as part of departure from bankrupcy GM was to break their assets into ones to be kept and ones to get rid of. "New GM" and "Old GM" and that all plants to be kept must be owned in their entirety by GM.


Like this comment
Posted by Very Concerned
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2009 at 4:07 pm

I see there's a new Bloomberg article from today -- Web Link

Just a thought, the plant may shut down and reopen in a year or two, when market conditions improve. Though from a read of the article, NUMMI made a profit only one year - 1992 (the plant opened in 1984). Not promising.


Like this comment
Posted by Einstein
a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Jul 7, 2009 at 4:13 pm

Einstein is a registered user.

Very concerned,

do you or a loved one work at this facility?


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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