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DETROIT-Two automotive companies are getting a multi-million boost by the state toencourage them to stay in Michigan, and especially in the Detroit metropolitan area. General Motors Corp. is considering the shut-down of a plant in Lake Orion, MI, and the Internet-based automotive supplier firm Covisint, formed last year, is trying to decide whether to stay in Southfield, move to Detroit or relocate out of state to Georgia.

To keep the two companies operating, and to save thousands of jobs in Michigan, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. has offered them millions of dollars in tax incentives to stick around, said Jennifer Kopp, an MEDC spokeswoman.

Kopp says Covisint has been offered $59 million in tax breaks while $60 million is on the table in front of GM.

“Covisint is interested in making their permanent headquarters here,” Kopp tells GlobeSt.com. “They’re committed to Southfield for the time being, but if the state and local governments don’t come through, they’re talking about moving down south.”

She says her corporation has finalized a package with Covisint, and an announcement will probably come by the end of the year.

“We’re working with the cities of Detroit and Southfield to put together a local package,” she says.

At the GM plant, current assembly operations are going to be phased out. The plant makes the Pontiac Bonneville, the Oldsmobile Aurora and the Buick Park Avenue and LeSabre.

She adds those cars may be made somewhere else, but not at the Lake Orion plant.

“There’s no other product scheduled to go into that plant,” she says. “There’s a very good chance they will pull up and idle the plant. We want to save at least the 2,200 jobs that are at the plant now, to encourage GM to invest in a new product at that facility.”

Renne Rashid-Merem, a GM spokeswoman, says her company could spend more than $275 million to renovate the 18-year-old Lake Orion plant to handle building other vehicles.

“It depends on what the product is, tooling has a lot of different costs. At this point the plant doesn’t have a future product,” she says.

Rashid-Merim said the company appreciates the tax credit offer, and is considering its options.

“We’ll make an announcement after we examine the business case,” she says. “The decision would be driven by a number of internal considerations, including the availability of capital.”

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