The Pontiac assembly plant in Michigan is one of the General Motors plants facing closure.
Its glory days firmly in the past, the iconic brand is being discontinued by GM – a grim prospect for the town it was named after. With more than 1,000 jobs set to go, local business as a whole could suffer. “You know the old saying – when GM sneezes, the US catches a cold,” said pizza restaurant owner Nick Mansour. “It is true. You cannot deny it, especially Pontiac. You know how it is. You can feel there is something wrong going on. It is like a cloud in the air. You don’t see the sun. You feel the weather is not good.” For decades synonymous with the US auto industry, Michigan already has the highest unemployment rate of any US state. And Pontiac has not escaped the impact of the economic downturn. Michigan resident Carla Inman said:¨Well, if you walk down the street, you can kind of see the town is going to sleep and I am sure it will definitely be in a coma, after that.” For former GM worker Harold Barttley, the forthcoming closure is an emotional blow. “It almost brought tears to my eyes because I worked there a long time,” he said. “To see it closing, you think about all your friends you had in there – people that you know. It is tight.” The fear is that the closure of the assembly plant between now and October will spell the end of the road for the town of Pontiac itself.