'Sad day for Fremont' as NUMMI plant closes, idling 4,700 workers

Last California-built Corolla left assembly line at 9:21 a.m. Thursday

After a quarter-century of production, the last car rolled off the

assembly line at the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. plant in Fremont on Thursday and workers headed home to uncertain futures.

"It's a very sad day for Fremont," Mayor Bob Wasserman said.

Sergio Santos, president of United Auto Workers Local 2244, which represented 4,700 employees at the auto plant, called Thursday "an emotional day for everyone."

NUMMI officials said the last car produced at the plant, a red

S-grade Corolla, came off the assembly line at 9:21 a.m. Thursday.

"To see the last car come off the line was very emotional," Santos said.

He said the plant's closure "will rip up some families" because

they will now have a hard time paying their mortgages and bills.

NUMMI, which began operations in 1984, was a joint venture between General Motors and Toyota. GM announced last June that it would withdraw from the partnership, and Toyota announced in August that it wouldn't order any

more vehicles from the plant after April 1.

"There was a long and harmonious relationship with NUMMI and

Toyota, and it's very said to see them leave," Wasserman said.

NUMMI president and chief executive Kent Ogura issued a statement lauding employees for their accomplishments.

"We want to thank generations of NUMMI team members whose skill and pride in their work contributed to numerous innovations in automotive assembly here in Fremont," he said.

"Our attention now will focus on helping to find a new owner that will re-use this site so that it continues to serve the Fremont community and the Bay Area," he said.

NUMMI officials said some employees will stay at the 370-acre

facility over the next few months to help sell assets, perform remediation and provide security.

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