The new plant is part of an $838-million retooling and expansionplan in Michigan by the automaker to create the Chevrolet Volt, acar that will run for 40 miles after being charged for just a fewhours from a common household electric socket.

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Workers at the new 500,000-sf plant will build engines for theVolt and the Chevrolet Cruze, a new compact car. The rest of theexpansion plan includes upgrades to the Detroit-Hamtramck AssemblyPlant (where the car will be constructed), the Pontiac Metal Centerin Pontiac (to stamp the Volt's metal), the Bay City ComponentsPlant (more engine work) and the GM Technical Center in Warren (forbattery research).

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The company, which has been based in Michigan since itsinception in 1908, alleges that it has looked at other states tohouse some or all of these tasks. In response, the state, throughthe Michigan Economic Growth Authority Board, approved on Tuesday atax credit worth $122.5 million for 15 years, and a brownfield taxcredit valued at $10 million, to keep the firm employing Michiganworkers. The city also approved incentives, including about $6million of real property taxes, and much more with a 100% abatementof personal property taxes through 2033. "The automotive industryis a fiercely competitive business," said company officials in astatement. "As investment dollars become scarcer, GM facilities incommunities that create positive environments for business are morelikely to receive future investment dollars from GM. Economicincentives from the state of Michigan will assist in the long-termviability and competitiveness of the proposed projects."

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After the board voted for the incentives, Granholm said thatthough the state is most famous, and infamous during this economicdownturn, for automotive manufacturing, this money will helpdiversify business. The GM Volt production "put us in a strongposition to win this project, and be the state that produces thecars and trucks that help end our nation's dependence on foreignoil."

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The state is committed to attracting and keeping companies thatfocus on new energy ideas, a spokeswoman for the Michigan EconomicDevelopment Corp. tells GlobeSt.com. Wednesday, the state announcedMichigan Strategic Fund approval of alternative energy partnershipsin Ann Arbor, Flint and Kinross. For example, Sakti3 of Ann Arborwill receive $3 million from the program to establish a centerfocused on next-generation lithium battery technologies andprocesses, in an attempt to keep this type of manufacturing inMichigan. "Right now, a lot of the research, development andassembly of products such as advanced batteries takes place inother countries," the MEDC spokeswoman says. "If we're able to growand develop that product here, we'll all be much better off."

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