GM Auctioning Off Old Equipment
The event served as a reminder of the company's old shell, when it was burdened with debt and costs that were impossible to maintain. The plant in Pontiac was closed during the Chapter 11 proceedings, along with other 14 manufacturing plants, and transferred to Motors Liquidation Co – nicknamed "old GM".
Old GM consists, mainly, of items abandoned by GM as it went into insolvency and had to be resurrected by government funding. Over the past year it has been preparing for a sell-off that represents the largest industrial garage sale of all time.
Remains of the GM truck plant in Pontiac, ranging from neon Chevy signs to c-clamps, were auctioned off one by one to resellers, car enthusiasts and suppliers hoping to obtain a bargain deal for old industrial equipment.
The auction has drawn the attention of about 500 participants, while about half of the bidders watched the auction on the Internet.
Larry Heilman, manager of Eclipse Acquisition and Supply International, was scouring for hydraulic pumps and motors to resell.
Dilworth, an engineer at GM's Warren plant, coveted a pink granite plate that went for $250. The real worth was probably around $1,500. "The government saved our bacon," Dilworth said. "The whole company would be like this if it wasn't for them."
GM engineer Greg Fee, who was attending his first auction, marveled at prices for some of the parts given the higher prices GM had paid for such equipment in his career. The Pontiac plant built GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado pick-up trucks. It had employed about 1,100 workers when it was shut down in October 2009.
The remains of a GM stamping plant near Grand Rapids, Michigan go up for auction next week.