Report: Half of U.S. abandoned auto plants are being reused image

A report from the Center for Automotive Research finds that almost half of all U.S. automotive plants that have closed since 1979 are being reused.

The study discovered that much of the activity has been recorded during recent years, despite the crisis in the auto industry and the real estate market. Of the 267 assembly and parts plants closed since 1979, 128 have restarted activity or currently are being restarted. 40 percent of the sites surveyed by CAR were bought between 2008 and 2010, a period during which GM and Chrysler went through restructuring and bankruptcy reorganization. Few sites found a new owner or use before 2000.

“There are certain factors that could contribute to that phenomenon, such as the increase in closed plants available during that same period, the lower assessed value of real estate properties make them more affordable to people with available capital to purchase them,” one of the report’s authors told the Associated Press.

Unfortunately, more than half of closed auto sites still remain closed: of the 139 plants, 36 percent closed in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Most are located in the Midwest, with 65 percent of all closed facilities being in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio, which happens to be the region with the highest concentration of operating plants.