LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — With the 2023 UAW strike now expanded to the Lansing Delta Township Assembly Plant as well as the GM Lansing Redistribution Center, much focus has come to the effect that a prolonged autoworkers strike could have on mid-Michigan’s economy–and for good reason.
Though Detroit is known as the Motor City and remains the epicenter of the U.S. automotive industry, Michigan’s automotive history began in Lansing. Ransom Eli Olds founded the Olds Motor Vehicle Company here in Lansing and manufactured the company’s first cars in 1897, according to the R.E. Olds Foundation.
Though Olds soon moved production from Lansing to Detroit, he returned to business in Lansing with his 1901 Olds Motor Works factory, followed by the establishment of the Reo Motor Car Company in 1905 (the namesake of Lansing’s modern-day REO Town neighborhood, where they manufactured vehicles along South Washington Avenue from the company’s inception, right up through 1975).
The Durant Motors plant on Verlinden Avenue, Lansing Westside, opened in 1920, which General Motors later purchased. The factory later combined with the 1901 Oldsmobile plant to become Lansing Car Assembly, which closed in 2005. At that point, it was the longest-operating automobile factory in the United States.
As Lansing and General Motors had grown up together through the 20th century, the current Lansing Grand River Assembly opened in 2001. The Lansing Delta Township Assembly, at which UAW President Shawn Fain announced an active strike Friday, began operations in 2006. Combined, the two plants (plus the GM Lansing redistribution center) employ thousands of people from the Lansing area today.