Carbon Motors Employees Move In; Loan Still In Limbo

Connersville Police Car Plant Moves Ahead

Connersville's high-tech police car plant is moving forward, even though it still doesn't have the federal money it needs to start production.

The first Carbon Motors employees have started moving into the old Visteon building in the Fayette County community, 6News' Norman Cox reported.

More than three dozen engineers and management employees have set up shop at the plant, and have begun work on things like power train design and electronics.

Some in Connersville were disappointed back in April to learn they will need two-year degrees to work at the factory, but company officials said now many are working to meet that requirement.

"We actually had a little bit of pushback in the beginning, but we've garnered much more support for it than we have people pushing back," said spokeswoman Stacy Stephens. "People are calling us up saying, 'What do I need to do next? How do I get my degree? What degrees are you wanting?'"

She said the company is working to put residents in touch with places like the local Ivy Tech branch where they can get the degrees they need.

Engineer Lawrence Kennedy, who was laid off from GM in Kokomo, said the new hires will find this unlike anything they've experienced before in the auto industry.

"Oh it's fantastic," he said. "This is a small team of very passionate people. You know everything that's going on in the company. You're able to build it from the ground up."

What Carbon Motors still doesn't have is the $310 million federal loan it needs to begin production.

City leaders say all indications are positive.

"We're doing exactly what the president says on TV every night," said Mayor Leonard Urban. "All he needs to do is give us that shot in the arm so we can go ahead and finish it."

An aide to Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Indiana, said he's cautiously optimistic about the loan, but said negotiations with the Department of Energy are ongoing.