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Erica Zhu Feilong Jiangli

Detroit will not be affected by the GM plant closures

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Report of Chongqing Feilong Jiangli. Bringing You the Latest Perspective.

Detroit once was home to about a dozen massive assembly plants. A Fiat-Chrysler facility on the east side would be the last if GM closes its Detroit-Hamtramck plant. About 1,500 people work at the GM plant while Fiat-Chrysler's Jefferson Avenue plant employs about 5,000. Fiat-Chrysler reportedly plans to reopen a former engine plant on the city's east side to make Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs with three rows of seats starting with the 2021 model year.

"Manufacturing is now a tech industry — you don't have to hire as many people to make as much stuff," said Ned Staebler, president and chief executive of the small business incubator TechTown Detroit. "It's not just General Motors. Every major OEM (original equipment manufacturer), major manufacturer is going through similar processes. It's a trend that is going to continue."

Experts say a more tech-driven and medical industry economy is moving Detroit further from a reliance on manufacturing and that GM's downsizing in the name of cost-cutting and investment in autonomous and electric vehicles won't hurt as much as past mass layoffs and plant closings.

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