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Thursday, December 4, 2008

The southern auto industry

A piece from the Christian Science Monitor discusses the rise of non-union auto manufacturing plants in the south, including a Kia plant in West Point, Georgia*.
The US auto industry is throwing bolts, but here in Georgia's Chattahoochee Valley a South Korean car company is building a massive new manufacturing plant along the new Kia Parkway, replacing abandoned textile mills.
The expansion of this "other" auto industry – one that's foreign-owned, nonunion, and based largely in the South – stands in stark contrast to this week's dire reports from America's own Big Three, whose CEOs laid out plans for a dramatic downsizing before traveling to Washington to plead for $34 billion in federal aid.

A prevalent right-to-work philosophy isn't the only reason foreign companies like Toyota have located plants in the South. There's also the proximity to a car-loving region with little mass transit and a population that totals that of the Midwest and New England combined.

* I find it interesting that while West Point, GA is building a Kia plant, the Athens Kia dealership closed recently.

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