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GM recalling some 400 workers to Spring Hill plant

By The Associated Press

This article was published September 17, 2010 at 1:26 p.m.

General Motors has recalled hundreds of idled workers to build a new generation of four-cylinder engines at the Tennessee plant where the Saturn brand was launched two decades ago.

But GM North America President Mark Reuss said production of any new car at Spring Hill remains uncertain — much like the economy.

“As we rebuild the company, we have to feel comfortable about where the economy is and people have to have confidence in the economy and that will dictate how we reinvest and where we reinvest,” Reuss said.

About 400 workers will be recalled as GM plans to invest $483 million to build the next generation of the company’s Ecotec four-cylinder engine. The plant already builds three four-cylinder engines.

The automaker laid off about 2,000 workers at Spring Hill last year and about 800 of those workers have relocated to GM plants in other states.

About 1,000 retired, active and laid off workers gathered Friday to hear from GM officials, Gov. Phil Bredesen and others. Also present were U.S. Sens. Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander and U.S. Reps. Marsha Blackburn and Lincoln Davis.

Bredesen sounded an optimistic note about the future.

“This is such a good plant,” he said. “As the automotive market comes back, there’s no question in my mind that this Spring Hill plant has a role to play in the future.”

A handful of boos erupted from the workers when Corker showed up. They apparently were still upset over Corker’s opposition to bailouts for the auto industry and his push to get the United Auto Workers to agree to wage and benefit concessions.

The company received a $50 billion government bailout and so far has paid back $6.7 billion and has a plan to start the process of selling stock to the public.

Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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