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Lindley Estes is a business writer for The Free Lance-Star and This blog is on Fredericksburg-area business. Send an e-mail to Lindley Estes.

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GM closing local Powertrain plant

General Motors is closing the Powertrain plant on Tidewater Trail in Spotsylvania County. Employees there were informed this morning at 9:30, said GM spokesman John Raut.

Raut said the plant would close by the end of 2010, but perhaps sooner. GM bought the 275,000-square-foot plant, which sits on 77 acres, in 1979 and has been operating it since.

The plant, which is located across from the Fredericksburg Country Club, produces torque converter clutches for automatic transmissions. The national slowdown in the production of GM cars and trucks has trickled down to the plant, which employed nearly 300 at its peak but is now down to 67 hourly and 14 salaried employees.

The Spotsylvania Department of Economic Development said it would be working with the affected employees to try to help them find new employment after the plant closes.

The Spotsylvania plant is the only GM facility in Virginia. GM recently invested $3.1 million in the facility so workers could create single-plate and dual-plate 6-speed clutches.

GM filed for bankruptcy protection this morning.

If you’re affected by the closure e-mail Kelly Hannon or Bill Freehling

Check back today for more.

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