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On same day Illinois plant set to close, Stellantis announces major Indiana investment

Tuesday, Feb 28, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* WREX TV

After a nearly a six-decade run, there’s now possibly years of uncertainty for 1200 workers at the Belvidere Stellantis plant, and 400 more from employees at local suppliers.

“It’s certainly devastating to community,“ said 35th District State Senator Dave Syverson

“It’s catastrophic to this community,” said UAW Local 1268 President Kevin Logan. “Not just Belvidere, but Rockford and Machesney Park and Roscoe. It’s going to hit the Northern Illinois area pretty hard”

At 5,400,000 square feet, Belvidere has one of the five largest auto assembly plants in the World.

“It is a state of the art plant,” said Morris.

But this state of the art plant is now idle with no promise of a return.

* WTVO

The United Auto Workers and Stellantis have reportedly come to an agreement on options packages for Belvidere Assembly Plant employees.

The plant is set to be “idled” [today], on February 28th.

* Meanwhile, from a press release

Stellantis announced today that it will invest a total of $155 million in three Kokomo, Indiana, plants to produce new electric drive modules (EDM) that will help power future electric vehicles assembled in North America and support the goal of 50% battery electric sales in the U.S. by 2030.

With more than 25 battery electric vehicle (BEV) launches planned in the U.S. between now and 2030, the Kokomo-built EDM will be integrated into vehicles designed on the STLA Large and STLA Frame platforms. Offering an all-in-one solution for electric vehicle powertrains, the EDM consists of three main components – the electric motor, power electronics and transmission – that are combined into a single module to deliver improved performance and range at a competitive cost. The optimized efficiency of the new EDM will help each platform achieve driving range up to 500 miles (800 km).

“While we continue our successful transition to a decarbonized future in our European operations, we are now setting those same foundational elements for the North American market,” said Carlos Tavares, Stellantis CEO. “By combining the benefits of the EDM with our new BEV-centric platforms and innovative battery technologies, we will offer our customers a variety of electric vehicles with unparalleled performance and range at more affordable prices. And with our in-house manufacturing capabilities and expertise, we will do it with greater flexibility and efficiency.”

Investments will be made at the Indiana Transmission, Kokomo Transmission and Kokomo Casting Plants. The gearbox cover will be cast at Kokomo Casting and machined at Kokomo Transmission. Gear machining and final assembly will be at the Indiana Transmission Plant. Production is expected to start in the third quarter of 2024, following retooling. […]

Investments will be made at the Indiana Transmission, Kokomo Transmission and Kokomo Casting Plants. The gearbox cover will be cast at Kokomo Casting and machined at Kokomo Transmission. Gear machining and final assembly will be at the Indiana Transmission Plant. Production is expected to start in the third quarter of 2024, following retooling.

       

46 Comments
  1. - H-W - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 8:58 am:

    Firestone did the same thing when they abandoned Decatur, IL. The closed the plant at the same time they opened a new plant in South Carolina.

    With regard to unregulated capitalism, Karl Marx once said, “The need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the entire surface of the globe.”

    Indiana’s glee is shortchanged by the compounded losses in Illinois. At the national level, only investors win: not workers, and not the states who sell their citizens short through tax policies that advantage the investors over the producers of those profits.


  2. - MOON - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 9:11 am:

    It is a state of the art plant….but…it is not in a “State of the art State”.


  3. - Indiana Jones - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 9:16 am:

    Predictable.


  4. - We've never had one before - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 9:21 am:

    Watch for legislation to eradicate the auto assembly plant desert in Boone County.


  5. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 9:22 am:

    ==it is not in a “State of the art State”.==

    Another Illinois hater heard from


  6. - BCOSEC - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 9:24 am:

    Quoting Karl Marx.

    That doesn’t play into anyone’s hands, does it?


  7. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 9:28 am:

    It’s always telling the hate folks have here in Illinois, I don’t think I’ve seen such hate for any other state I’ve ever visited…

    … it’s also self own comedy that those hating still stay…

    If it’s better, tell your family, get that “better” job, “lower” taxes, “better” schools, “less” crime, but seemingly… it’s they can’t leave their job, family here still wants to stay, schools and schooling can’t be left…

    As this plant closes, and things are “popping” in Indiana, the right to work for less is cited as a “good thing”, while ignoring that giving workers less is also how states want to be marketed.

    I mean, if the goal as a person is to make corporations feel better for giving less, and getting less and thanking corporations for the less… by all means, cheer “Indiana”


  8. - H-W - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 9:35 am:

    == Quoting Karl Marx. That doesn’t play into anyone’s hands, does it? ==

    It plays into a lot of hands. Mostly, it plays into the hands of those who are afraid of masks and sex ed. Oh, and Bernie fans. And people who actually read books.


  9. - Merica - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 9:52 am:

    Ironically, if you want to move your business out of the State of Illinois, you don’t have to complete any forms or registrations, leaving Illinois is a very easy process.

    If you want to set up a business in illinois, you have to complete hundreds of forms and many registrations.


  10. - MOON - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 9:57 am:

    Demoralized

    Your opinion of me regarding my comment is way off base. I am a life long resident of Illinois and have no feelings of hate for this state.

    I am of the opinion that as of now Illinois is not high on the list of any major corporation looking to expand.

    Recognize, that as of now, there are better places for businesses to locate.


  11. - Give Us Barabbas - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 9:58 am:

    The Indiana plants aren’t building cars, just component sub-assemblies which will be put into cars elsewhere. You could locate a component-building shop anywhere, and re-locate it, including offshore, soon as the accountant’s find a cheaper location. I m not sure this is the victory Indiana thinks it is. That said, those components could be put into EVs built at Belvedere. But retooling a plant is expensive and time consuming. It is understandable Stellantis doesn’t want to pay people until there’s a production line for the new car design. That could take years.


  12. - BCOSEC - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 10:00 am:

    H-W.

    I posted an apology for my snark, but it wasn’t on here.

    There are many examples of industry expanding in Illinois.


  13. - Nick Name - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 10:08 am:

    ===The closed the plant at the same time they opened a new plant in South Carolina.===

    Another right to work (for less) sate. I’m sending a pattern here,


  14. - Back to the Future - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 10:09 am:

    Going with the idea that, as they say, it is not over till it’s over.
    The plant built, according to published numbers, over 40,000 automobiles. That is a heck of a lot of cars so the workers and management at the plant had a skill set that will be difficult to duplicate.
    Corporate and labor negotiators probably have a very good idea on a “number” that works to keep the plant open.
    Most of the Illinois issues that people raise probably have absolutely nothing to do with this mega sophisticated manufacturing operation closing down.
    Now is not the time to throw in the towel on the Belvedere plant. The parties involved in this situation should work right up to the last second in the fall when the labor contract ends to solve any issues that should be able to be resolved.


  15. - Logical - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 10:10 am:

    Just wait until Caterpillar decides their aging factories in Peoria need to be replaced. Decatur has the only Cat factory worth working in at the present time and even that one is probably on borrowed time. Il is not friendly to heavy industry.


  16. - H-W - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 10:17 am:

    @ BCOSEC

    No need to apologize. I read your comment as having fun with Marx. I took no offense whatsoever, and indeed, snarked back.

    As a teacher (professor), I am amazed at how many people have never read Marx’s works, know nothing of his works or their context, but are convinced that he is Satan and un-American.

    Marx was an economist. He studied capitalism and found flaws. But I digress. Peace


  17. - H-W - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 10:28 am:

    @ Logical

    Couldn’t the reverse be argued, that heavy industry is not friendly to IL?

    Historically, plants built here because of the commitment of the labor force, and the centrality of Illinois. We had lots of immigrants looking for work at the turn of the 20th century, and subsequently, minorities moving from the South to Illinois looking for factory jobs (circa 1920-1960). All the while, we had a unionized labor force that guaranteed workers a living / family wage.

    Starting in the 1960s however, we started seeing signs of what economists Bluestone and Harrison referred to as “The Great U-turn.” The transfer of manufacturing jobs and high wage jobs out of the Heartland in the pursuit of cheaper labor and deregulation. First these corporations moved to the South and the West. Then offshoring became to strategy de jour. Today, some of the jobs are being created in the U.S., but at the expense of local and state governments, and with limited wage structures for production workers.

    It is in this context that the Marx quote above is appropriate. Corporations chasing profits all over the U.S. and globe, while neglecting workers and communities who actually create those profits.


  18. - Techie - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 10:30 am:

    “As a teacher (professor), I am amazed at how many people have never read Marx’s works, know nothing of his works or their context, but are convinced that he is Satan and un-American.”

    Dr. Richard Wolff, an economist, has noted that at no point during his education studying economics at Harvard, Stanford, and Yale was he required to read Marx for his classes. Regardless of one’s opinion of Marx’s ideas, it’s basically academic malpractice on behalf of these Ivy League schools to not require study one of the most influential thinkers in the field. But that’s how deep anti-Marxist thinking runs in this country.


  19. - Steve - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 10:37 am:

    - giving workers less is also how states want to be marketed-

    Indiana is a cheaper place to live so workers experience an increase in their standard of living.


  20. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 10:39 am:

    ==Indiana is a cheaper place to live ==

    So I guess that means we can pay them less money then, right?


  21. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 10:39 am:

    ==Recognize, that as of now, there are better places for businesses to locate.==

    Nope. My opinion hasn’t changed.


  22. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 10:42 am:

    ===Indiana is a cheaper place to live===

    That’s not a selling point.

    Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama are cheaper too.

    That doesn’t make it better, it makes it… cheaper.

    Again, marketing a state to be “cheap”, good to get cheap labor, it’s no wonder those utopias are Red states with a great many on social security or Medicaid, both programs Republicans want diminished or eliminated.

    Illinois is one of FIVE states with a GDP over a trillion (with a T)

    Where’s Indiana?

    There needs to be a better marketing in Illinois, but trying to be RTW, lower wages, and maximizing corporate profits at the cost of Illinois isn’t a great way to be better…


  23. - Steve - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 10:44 am:

    -So I guess that means we can pay them less money then, right?-

    Everyone is a winner except artificially high cost places like Illinois. Workers might actually make less money but experience a big jump in their standard of living. Many California corporate employees haven taken 15% pay cuts(since COVID) via leaving the state and experience a massive increase in their standing of living by doing remote work .


  24. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 10:47 am:

    - Steve -

    Remote working can’t be done by manufacturing


  25. - Travel Guy - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 10:50 am:

    -Indiana is a cheaper place to live so workers experience an increase in their standard of living.-

    @Steve, I put the cost of living in Rockford and Kokomo into the nerdwallet.com cost of living calculator. There is a 2% difference in the cost of living in those locations. If you look at the difference in wages between RTW states and union states, that amount far exceeds 2%, which means those folks will have the pleasure of a lower standard of living, fewer work protections, and a lower wage. They tend to also receive fewer local services. Look at facts, not feelings.


  26. - ZC - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 10:51 am:

    As usual the truth is probably somewhere between on these kinds of things.

    Anyone who has not read Rich’s recent column giving some valuable context on the automotive industry’s beef with IL, really ought to read it before commenting here:

    https://www.rcreader.com/commentary/auto-manufacturers-suspect-state-assembly-members-of-cronyism


  27. - Boone's is Back - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 10:51 am:

    I wonder how this plays for a presidential run?


  28. - sulla - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 11:00 am:

    What baffles me is that legislators in Illinois refuse to support their pro-labor stances by making Illinois’ economic development toolbox robust enough to overcome the financial hurdles that companies must endure by locating in a heavily-regulated, pro-labor state.

    You’d think that legislators and their friends in labor would want Illinois to be a shining beacon of how states can overwhelmingly support unions AND be a powerhouse for attracting 21st Century manufacturing projects. The legislature could do that by pumping lots of money into cutting-edge ED incentives and programs that could offset Illinois’ high costs of regulation and labor. Succeeding in this manner would make other states more likely to want to emulate Illinois with it’s strong labor protections. It would be a win in the long run for the State and for pro-labor people around the country.

    Instead, Illinois is running the same economic development toolbox as we had in 1983. EDGE isn’t competitive against states with refundable credits. We don’t have a state-funded quickstart-style workforce training program. Businesses report that working with DCEO on literally anything is a wide-awake nightmare. The legislature has tried repeatedly to gut Enterprise Zone and TIF. I could go on.

    There is nothing wrong with being pro-labor and pro-regulation. You just have to pony up the financial tools to offset those costs and we haven’t done that.


  29. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 11:02 am:

    ==Everyone is a winner==

    I’m pretty sure if I’m being paid less money I wouldn’t consider myself a “winner.”

    ==artificially high cost places like Illinois==

    What goes into your determination that Illinois is “artificially” high?”


  30. - Teve Demotte - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 11:02 am:

    Jobs are leaving Illinois. People are leaving Illinois. You can’t fund programs to help people if the economic base is losing jobs. It is not a left vs. right thing. It is plain ole’ common sense. I feel bad for the workers.


  31. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 11:06 am:

    ===People are leaving Illinois.===

    This has been debunked at some levels, but…

    It’s odd that the GDP is now the 5th largest, a Trillion dollar economy with unemployment at all time lows.

    Illinois can always raise taxes.

    I mean, we saved Griffin by defeating the Fair Tax, and he still left, LOL

    Doomsday folks are not looking at the good and where to be better, Doomsday folks want to be aggrieved.


  32. - Just Me 2 - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 11:07 am:

    But what about the J.B. slush fund to lure EV factories to Illinois?

    This is proof that businesses don’t really want incentives, they want a good climate.

    What good is having a bunch of government-mandated benefits at your place of employment if there is no job?


  33. - This - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 11:16 am:

    Devastating news for Northern Illinois that exposes the fragility of our economy. We remember the effects of leaving Galesburg Maytag had. Sorry for Boone and Winnebago Counties and the hundreds of affected families.


  34. - Pundent - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 11:21 am:

    =This is proof that businesses don’t really want incentives, they want a good climate.=

    What defines a “good climate?” Because it seems to me that the practical translation of this is a lower standard of living. If Indiana is preferred because workers are willing to accept lower wages and benefits, I’m not sure that’s a climate we want to emulate.


  35. - Louis G Atsaves - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 12:03 pm:

    I’ve been in the legal field of Workers’ Compensation for 44 years now and traveled the state defending many claims over the years.

    I’ve watched factory after factory move out from cities and towns in Illinois for four decades now. Some of it may not have been preventable, others were.

    Look across the Mississippi, the Indiana and Wisconsin borders. The Rock Island side compared to the Iowa side? Decatur side vs. the Indiana side? All those auto manufacturing companies that made batteries, auto parts, tires and other equip near rail lines? Long gone. Some of them don’t go that far. Indianapolis is one of the fastest growing cities in the country these days.

    Will this be the wake up call finally for our Springfield and local politicians to get their respective acts together? After 44 years, all I can say is probably not.

    Sad stuff. But then again, maybe a White Castle or two will open up in that area to ease the economic landslide this closing will create./(snark)


  36. - hisgirlfriday - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 12:07 pm:

    @Logical - I hope Cat doesn’t follow like you mentioned. But three Illinois plants could be on strike as soon as tomorrow.


  37. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 12:10 pm:

    For the spelunkers and anti-Illinois folks:

    1. Per the last census Illinois population grew. That has been addressed here at great length.

    2. Illinois GDP grew at a rate (2.2%) higher than Wisconsin (0.6), Iowa (0.3), Kansas (1.9) (not really a border state but close enough) Missouri(1.7), Kentucky (1.3), Michigan (1.7), Ohio (1.2) AND the shangrila of right to work Indiana which actually lost GDP (-0.6%). Only Tennessee was higher 3.9 of nearby states.

    https://www.bea.gov/data/gdp/gdp-state

    Given Illinois massive disparity in overall GDP (Illinois GDP is 20% larger than Iowa, Indiana, and Wisconsin COMBINED) the differential is getting exponentially larger.

    3. Ask Weather tach how tough it is to grow a large successful business in Illinois/

    4. =If you want to set up a business in illinois, you have to complete hundreds of forms and many registrations.=

    Only in your fever dream.


  38. - Sue - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 12:13 pm:

    Without denigrating Illinois - there is little argument that Indiana has taken steps legislatively and from a regulations perspective to make doing business and managing a workforce much easier than Illinois has. Our political leadership takes pride in stating that Illinois is a progressive place in terms of work regs and union advocacy. Bottom line is that other states are just easier on business than Illinois is. Whether that’s good or bad the marketplace will reward states that are more business friendly despite JB routinely stating that businesses are beating down doors to come here. It’s just an outright prevarication as Stellantis proved today


  39. - Jerry - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 12:19 pm:

    “Right to Work”, another marketing slogan from the Republicans. Lets just call it what it is, Anti-Union. Republicans used to support Unions.


  40. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 12:23 pm:

    =there is little argument that Indiana has taken steps legislatively and from a regulations perspective to make doing business and managing a workforce much easier than Illinois has.=

    It has worked so well that their GDP has one DOWN.


  41. - Lucky Pierre - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 12:26 pm:

    What some people hate about Illinois is the smug arrogance of the politicians who call anyone opposed to their policies that have driven business out of Illinois carnival barkers.


  42. - City Zen - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 12:29 pm:

    I blame the viral TikTok video of that Indiana high school.


  43. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 12:29 pm:

    ===What some people hate ===

    Try speaking for yourself from now on. You tend to speak for others. From now on, speak only for yourself or find yourself gone.


  44. - Jerry - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 1:06 pm:

    How about if the Bears moved to Indiana if its so good there? /s


  45. - 40,000 ft - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 1:28 pm:

    This would never have happened if people accepted a centralized planning form of governance.

    I look forward to global central planning, where municipalities/counties/states/nations are directed by unelected organizations to produce and consume their allotted amounts.

    It’s the only way to stay free from this kind of tragedy. /s


  46. - DuPage - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 3:48 pm:

    ===The Indiana plants aren’t building cars, just component sub-assemblies which will be put into cars elsewhere.===

    These are existing plants the company already owns, that are going to be retooled to make similar parts for their EVs. That is, if the company survives long enough before their money runs out.


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