Michigan - General Motors Co is considering reopening one of the auto plants it closed as it went through bankruptcy in 2009, CEO Ed Whitacre said on Thursday.
Whitacre also said GM had completed the arbitration process with dealers who were told they would lose their franchises, but wanted to stay in the GM fold. About 500 dealerships once marked for closure will retain their franchises.
In early 2009, GM had 6,049 U.S. dealers. Whitacre said that by November 1, GM will have 4,500 dealers selling its four core brands -- Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac. The company shed four brands after bankruptcy. There are 25 percent fewer dealerships in the network than in early 2009.
In a statement, Mark Reuss, president of GM for North America, said the company still has the largest dealership network in the United States and Canada.
Whitacre said GM has added about 7,000 jobs in the past year and how many more jobs it adds depends directly on how many cars and trucks it sells.
We've added quite a few jobs this year, Whitacre said. We are looking at reactivating a plant. I think we would all agree (that) probably jobs is the most important thing in this country.
Whitacre, addressing a Center for Automotive Research conference in northern Michigan, did not say which plant would be reactivated, or when. Two of GM's plants are on standby, in Spring Hill, Tennessee, and Janesville, Wisconsin.
Later, GM Vice Chairman Steve Girsky, who was also at the conference, told reporters he could not say which plant would be considered for near-term reopening. Girsky would not confirm whether one of the two plants standby was being considered for reactivation.
(Reporting by Bernie Woodall and David Bailey; editing by Maureen Bavdek and Andre Grenon)