WMSN FOX 47
 

FOX47 NEWS - GM Auctions Plant Equipment

Jeff Angileri
May 21, 2009, 10:47 PM


The Janesville Assembly Plant is about to get even emptier.

Michigan-based auction house Maynards conducted an online auction this week. More than 400 pieces of equipment were up for grabs, from robots to step ladders.

It's really unfortunate to have to have one in the first place, said Ed Martinez, former GM worker.

Martinez worked with the company for 30 years, going from repair technician to analyst to education promoter. In that time, he saw a lot of the items up for auction.

I did view some of the items out of curiosity, Martinez said. I think they put it together very well. There are definitely some good deals.

In recent months, GM salvaged parts of the plant, and shipped them to other facilities. What was left over went up to the highest bidder.

GM owes the U.S. Treasury $13.5 billion dollars for its government bailout.

GM spokesperson Dan Flores said an auction is a way to create revenue in a challenging time, and keep the company viable.

It had nothing to do with the lack of support, Flores said. We've had outstanding support from the city of Janesville and the state of Wisconsin. We were faced with the reality that we had too many assembly plants.

But the auction doesn't necessarily doom the Janesville Assembly Plant, or crush hopes of a future tenant. It's all about modernization, Martinez says.

Anytime there's a product change of any sort, there's always a retooling -- new equipment and technology changes to keep up with competitors.

The online auction is over. GM wouldn't disclose the items' appraised value or how much the company made on the auction.

Successful bidders have to pick up their items by June 25th.

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