1. The Comma Guy says:

    Good thing there’s plenty of gas in the Metro area these days – the thing gets 15 mpg in the city, 22 on the highways.

  2. Bill Simon says:


    We all cannot go work at a help desk for a living. Sometimes, states have to make concessions in order to attract some industry.

    HOWEVER, Sonny’s Go Fish initiative is so pie-in-the-sky, “absurd” doesn’t begin to describe the duplicity of the people who produced the revenue projections for it.

  3. rugby fan says:

    Didn’t we have two functioning and efficient car factories in Georgia when Sonny went to court Kia? Why wasn’t the same effort made to keep the GM plants in operation? The only thing that makes sense to me is that the GM plants were unionized and weren’t likely to vote Republican but I don’t buy that.

    I’m genuinely asking here because I don’t know.

    First person to say something that sounds right convinces me. Go!

  4. It looks like a sardine can, or maybe a Vienna Sausage can. How does he fit in there?

    I can see some benefit coming of the factory, despite what the article says. The city is terribly close to Alabama, but it is also close to Columbus. Even if the majority of the workers come from Al over here to work, they will be inevitably making purchases in the city of West Point. Granted I’m not sure there will be a net-benefit for the State from this, but to write off any benefit is simply erroneous.

    I’d much rather see efforts be doubled to save the Cooper Tire plant in Albany, or to have prevented the Panasonic debacle. Anything but Go Fish.

  5. John Konop says:

    rugby fan

    In fairness GM is cutting back and KIA is expanding. Part of the problem is legacy union contracts that give KIA a big advantage and the other is poor product line by GM. That is why GM is betting the future on electric cars as game changer.

    Future of Auto Industry Up for Grabs with GM’s Volt Debut

    General Motors (GM)–the lumbering, money-losing giant of American industry–will formally unveil the Chevy Volt today to celebrate its 100th anniversary. The event, though, will mark more than a new car for GM and a triple-digit anniversary. It will set the stage for a turn in the balance of power in the automotive business.
    The Volt won’t start reaching consumers until late 2010. The initial reaction and test drives among customers will be more crucial than what gets said today. But the public will get the formal look at the car today and get some technical details. These will be hashed out and some consensus or momentum may begin to emerge.

    If the Volt lives up to its promises, it will serve as a wake up call to the large Japanese automakers. GM has been the principal proponent among large manufacturers of plug-in hybrids. Plug-ins can be charged from wall sockets. They get better mileage than regular hybrids and nearly the same mileage under average daily driving conditions as fully electric cars. Because the Volt will drive the first 40 miles on electricity and most Americans only drive about 26 miles a day, these cars will function effectively as electric cars.


  6. Icarus says:

    “Why wasn’t the same effort made to keep the GM plants in operation?”

    GM and Ford were offered similar incentives to stay.

    I can’t speak to the specifics of the GM plant, but I know that Ford was offered the same/similar package. They were discussing whether to upgrade and modernize hapeville, or build an entirely new plant to relocate to. Sites were even being selected, with most rumors looking at a tract in Meriwhether County vs. one near Covington.

    As the decision neared, Ford began to realize the scale of their problems, and notified the governor’s office that we were geographically undesirable. Our plant, while among their most efficient, wasn’t close enough to other Ford plants or their suppliers to warrant new investment when they would be greatly decreasing their manufacturing footprint.

    Both plants suffered from having the worst product in the respective manufacturer’s portfolio (GM’s minivans sucked, Ford was only building the previous Taurus for rental fleets) at a time when re-tooling dollars were in short supply. Both plant locations also offered their owner the opportunity to sell the property for large sums of needed cash, which is something they couldn’t expect if they shut down a plant in Michigan.

  7. Bill Simon says:


    Do you believe people and businesses moving to Georgia is a good thing for our state’s economy, a bad thing, or a “has-no-effect” thing?

  8. Jason Pye says:

    The state needs to provide an atmosphere where any business can come to Georgia and thrive, not just for some. The state should not be in the business of picking winners and losers by giving tax breaks to some and not others.

    That’s the difference between capitalism and corporatism.

  9. Dawgfan says:

    There is a decided advantage to bringing in something like an auto plant. It not only brings in a large number of direct jobs, but also indirect jobs. Those workers will need homes, places to buy groceries, places to eat, and get their dry cleaning. In addition many suppliers will start operations nearby to better serve their large customer, and create more jobs. This is an efficient and I think wise use of government resources.

  10. DTK says:

    Bill Simon,

    You’re assuming the main reason a company moves somewhere is the tax breaks and other incentives government grants them.

    Most academic research suggests that this isn’t so, that the incentices only have a marginal effect on a company’s relocation decision. Market factors always trump government incentives. States and localities are only involving themselves in a race to the bottom in terms of all these handouts.

    The fact is, large manufacturers (particularly foreign companies) look to establish plants in the South because of (1) proximity to the world’s largest economy, and (2) the South’s labor force is docile and will work for less money.

    Yes, it may affect a single firm’s decision if Georgia has a better offer than Alabama, but this factor is usually No. 15 or 20 on its list. If the Alabama site and the Georgia site are virtually tied on the first 14 or 19 factors, only then will the incentives come into play. Georgia, and other states, are really just giving the game away when they offer such grandiose incentive packages right off the bat.

    A good read on all of this is Selling of the South: The Southern Crusdade for Industrial Develpment, 1936-1990 by James C. Cobb.

  11. odinseye2k says:

    For once, I have to agree with Jason. Large corps give a nice ribbon-cutting ceremony but they can stay on your doorstep with palms out.

    That money would be better spent in basic research / infrastructure to support small and growing businesses, which are the most prodigious job creators anyways. I’m sure an entrepreneur training / networking program would also be effective. I would imagine that some automotive / mechanical engineer would love to clean GM and Toyota’s clock – just needs to get started on the project.

    Also, in heavily regulated areas (such as auto manufacture, and for good reason), some serious help in staying to spec.

  12. Bill Simon says:


    “That money would be better spent in basic research / infrastructure to support small and growing businesses”

    That “money” isn’t actually in hands to spend. It is an “opportunity cost” whose cost is anticipated to reap a higher return than, say, a state-owned golf course in middle Georgia.

  13. odinseye2k says:


    From the article:

    “In 2006 the Korean car maker Kia decided to build a $1.2 billion plant in West Point, Georgia. To land the project, the state offered a $420 million incentive package that included free land (bought from the previous owners at about 2.5 times the market value), tax-funded employee training, and a new $30 million Interstate interchange. Altogether, the subsidies amounted to roughly $168,000 for each of the 2,500 jobs at the plant.”

    The whole package was not money changing hands, but there were outlays made for this project.

    Again, doing the small stuff isn’t glamorous, but it usually reaps better results over the long term.

  14. Icarus says:

    The state wasn’t just investing in the 2,500 jobs at the plant. Within Kia’s incentive agreement includes an additional number of supplier jobs that are to be created and based in GA. I think the number is around 4,000, if memory serves.

    Given the amount of capital investment, these jobs should be around for at least a half a century. 4-6 thousand well paying manufacturing jobs will create a lot of opportunity for small businesses to serve the people in these jobs.

    And as for the criticism that “most of these people will live in AL”, the current trend is locating plants near state lines. Hyundai (Kia’s parent) and Honda both have plants not too far over the state line in AL, VW is building a plant in Georgia’s part of TN.

    A lot of Georgians will probably work at the VW plant, and a lot of Georgians will work at the new suppliers based in West Point that will supply transmissions and other parts for the Hyundai plant in AL.

    Ask any of your new neighbors from Michigan if they think $420 Million on total incentives are worth having a healthy and growing auto manufacturer in your state.

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