Vice President Biden Announces New Life for Shuttered Former General Motors Plant in Wilmington

By Gorman Gorman

Oct 27, 2009 2:11pm

ABC News' Karen Travers reports:
Vice President Joe Biden traveled to his home state of Delaware today to join an announcement that a former General Motors assembly plant in Wilmington will be back up and running producing environmentally friendly vehicles.

Fisker Automotive, a luxury automaker based in California, announced it will produce plug-in, electric hybrid vehicles at the shuttered GM plant.

Biden told an enthusiastic crowd that the United States can once again be a global leader in the automotive industry.

"I refuse to believe that we will not once again lead the entire world in the manufacturing of automobiles," Biden told the audience of more than 1,000 including union workers that the vice president singled out in his remarks. "This factory in Delaware, and the industry, are going to get back up off the mat."

Fisker bought the Wilmington plant for $18 million and will spend $175 million will be spent to refurbish it over the next three years.   It received a conditional loan of $528.7 million from the Department of Energy in September to develop the plug in cars. Production is scheduled to begin in late 2012.

The Wilmington plant will support "Project Nina," Fisker's development and construction of a plug-in hybrid sedan that would cost around $39,000 after federal tax credits.

The automotive company predicts that by 2014, the development project will create or support 2000 factory jobs and another 3000 vendor and supplier jobs.

 "This is proof positive that our efforts to create new jobs, invest in a clean energy economy and reduce carbon pollution are working," said Energy Secretary Steven Chu in a statement. "We are putting Americans back to work and reigniting a new Industrial Revolution that is paramount for the economic success of this country."

The Wilmington Assembly plant was built in 1946 and owned by General Motors until this year. At one point it employed more than 5,000 workers but this year it shut down production with just 450 hourly workers.

-Karen Travers

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