The LG Chem plant in Holland, Mich., which used received $150 million in federal funds to produce lithium ion batteries and paid workers to watch movies, play video games, and volunteer at local nonprofits, also failed to ramp up production at its South Korea plant after demand for the batteries did not meet expectations.
According to the Wall Street Journal:
A Holland, Mich., factory owned by LG Chem Ltd., part of LG Corp., was half-funded by a government grant and estimated to add some 440 jobs building battery cells for General Motors Co.’s Chevrolet Volt and other vehicles.
When demand for the plant’s batteries didn’t meet expectations, the company filled orders with cells made at a factory in South Korea, leaving the Michigan plant largely idle, according to the report by the Department of Energy’s Inspector General, Gregory Friedman.
The South Korean plant “never scaled up U.S. production despite receiving $142 million in federal grants.”
In 2010, Mr. Obama attended the plant’s groundbreaking and said such grants would “unleash private sector growth” and called the factory “a symbol of where America is going.” The facility today has about 150 workers, some of whom are hourly employees and are furloughed one week a month.