The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Entertainment

November 21, 2013

Recalling Anderson's automotive history

Book looks at community's love of the car

(Continued)

ANDERSON, Ind. —

“You would need more fingers than on your hands,” he said of GM closing the plants in Anderson. “There were a lot of factors that influenced it.”

In the 1950s and 1960s, there was a good working relationship with the union, Ault said.

“At the time, General Motors, Ford and Chrysler had a monopoly,” he said. “The oil embargo of the 1970s had a lot to do with it. The imports came on the scene and the profitability dropped.”

Ault said technology advanced faster than expected and Anderson lost many jobs to Kokomo when General Motors decided to place all electronics in one spot.

“We don’t need to point fingers,” he said. “Maybe the auto industry has matured. The challenge to this community is to move on.”

Harry Kirchenbauer retired from Guide in 1993 after 37 years in product design. He also worked four years at Delco Remy.

People don’t realize how big the auto industry was in Anderson at one time, employing 24,000 people, he said.

“It was always so popular, always had family working there,” Kirchenbauer said.

For many years he would drive down 25th Street to go to work at the plant and Kirchenbauer still thinks about that trip today.

“To turn the corner and suddenly it’s not there,” he said. “It’s just gone. Go over to Columbus Avenue and Delco Remy is gone.”

Dawn Mihic worked at Delco Remy and American Way for a decade in the late 1990s to early 2000s.

“We worked hard,” she said. “We made cranking motors and I loved it. I helped with the start-up of American Way.

“The people were great, hard working,” Mihic said. “It was a people place. I stayed loyal to the end. I was disappointed and sad that things didn’t work out well. Thought we had a great product and was amazed they moved it to Mexico, India, China and Brazil.”

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