Snyder: No talks yet with Volvo about a plant in Michigan

LANSING — Gov. Rick Snyder said this morning that he has not “had any any specific discussion with Volvo at this point in time.”

He was responding to a question asking if he’d had any talks with Volvo or its Chinese owners, in the wake of news reports Monday that Volvo will build a new $500-million auto assembly plant in the U.S. Volvo had not revealed which states it has discussed a possible site with, but indicated a decision would be forthcoming in about a month.

Snyder made four trips to China during his first term, seeking to build business ties with the fast-growing nation, which had not been courted much by previous Michigan governors to expand trade and investment ties.

While Snyder did not rule out possibly making a pitch for Volvo — he didn’t respond to follow-up questions — Michigan would be a long shot. None of the foreign-owned auto plants in the U.S. are based in Michigan. Only one of them, a Mitsubishi plant in Illinois that was originally a joint venture with Chrysler, has UAW-represented workers.

Recent press reports have cited North Carolina, South Carolina and Kentucky as prime contenders for the Volvo plant, but Huntsville, Alabama — a runner-up for some other big plants — could also be in the mix.

In Michigan, auto supplier Nexteer, which makes steering gear and other components, does have Chinese owners — and a UAW contract..

With UAW contacts expiring this September between the unions and the Detroit Three, along with some suppliers, most auto industry observers think it unlikely that Volvo would choose to to make a $500-million investment bet on Michigan without knowing the impact of the next contract on the automotive landscape in that state.

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Posted by Tribune News Services

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