Why not a Honda plant in Michigan?, asked the Detroit Free Press.
...if Michigan was never in the running, it is fair to ask why. Image? Message? Union presence? Business climate? Political climate? Climate, period? All those things add up to a huge problem for Michigan. This state is supposed to be the center of the automotive universe. If a global auto manufacturer doesn't have Michigan on its "consider" list, where does the state figure in the plans of non-automotive businesses?I'd say political climate is the primary reason our state lost out. In fact, Jim Hossack, vice president of AutoPacific, an automotive research and consulting firm, had this to say:
"It follows the pattern of imports to have facilities in many different states because it doesn't hurt to get as many senators, governors, congressmen and mayors on your side as you can, and this is how you do it..."Of course they wanted Washington on their side, but President Bush didn't help our chances very much in the influence department, and I'm sure Honda took note of this recent announcement in the Detroit News:
President Bush's planned meeting with the Big Three has been postponed a third time -- this time until July -- which may add to the perception Detroit's automakers are struggling to get their message heard by the White House. [...]Oh, it speaks volumes. I think Bush's snubs were intentionally designed to send a message to Honda. One of the concerns the automakers wanted to discuss was currency manipulation by the Chinese and Japanese central banks. By refusing to address this issue, Bush essentially said to Honda put your plant in red state Indiana - and not in blue state Michigan - and I'll work with you.
An initial meeting with Bush was set on May 18. The meeting was rescheduled for June 2 then postponed. The White House told automakers it was committed to a gathering by the end of June.
That deadline will come and go, and no firm date has been set in July.
"This is the most important industry in Michigan and, for that matter, the country, and the CEOs can't get a meeting with the president of the United States. That should speak volumes to voters in Michigan as to how the Republicans feel," said Gov. Jennifer Granholm's campaign spokesman Chris DeWitt.