Rustbelt collapse dividend: ginormous Chrysler plant and 3,000,000 sqft worth of gear up for sale

Richard sez, "For the discerning mad scientist: the list of items up for auction by the University of Delaware from a former Chrysler plant in Newark, Delaware. The university bought the plant after it closed, and apparently got the contents as well. The coolest items are probably the 6 axis robot arms, some still in line along assembly lines. There appears to be all kinds of milling equipment as well as other mysterious devices of unsure provenance. I am sure a machine expert would be able to make sense of all of it. The place is acres large (ed: literally -- 3 million sqft), so I bet there are plenty of robot arms to go around. Oh to be an independently wealthy mad scientist with a large laboratory, perhaps under an extinct volcano, for this stuff. I suppose if there are any makers in the area they might want to check it out."

Former Assets of Chrysler / University of Delaware - 3 Million Sq. Ft. Automotive Fabrication, Assembly Plant & Distribution Center (Thanks, Richard!)


  1. You mean when companies go out of business their capital gets reallocated to other productive uses? Schumpeter’s Ghost! That’s amazing!

  2. Indoor theme park. Delaware-Disney. You’ve already got the conveyor belt and robots. Or a huge lasertag gym.

    1. UDel’s already got plans for the space, which is located right across the street from their ag school and stadium. It’ll be a biomedical research campus, with some engineering school facilities as well, I’ve heard.

      I wonder how much those robot arms are going for…and why the engineering school didn’t just snatch them up.

      Go blue hens!

  3. And here Saturn and Saab needed a place to continue their manufacturing–I guess this wasn’t an option.

  4. Bwa ha ha ha ha! I’ve been looking for somewhere to build a robot army to conquer the world. You wouldn’t believe what GM wants to charge me.

  5. cinemajay, it most certainly was an option, but it probably wasn’t a very good one. The cost of retooling the plant to build Saabs or Saturns has got to run close to $1B, especially when you consider it is currently set up to build large SUVs with Chrysler parts and processes, and you’d need it to make mostly sedans with GM parts and processes. All that to continue building two lines of cars that are rarely profitable to begin with.

  6. Thanks for the heads up.
    I, (as well as most of Delaware), have been aware that UD was buying out the big Chrysler plant to use for composites, but I hadn’t seen a complete item listing for the plant before.

    And to set aside any worries, there ARE Makers in Delaware. Most of us are actually students at UD.

  7. Why GM won’t use these plants to manufacture high speed railway liner or passenger train cars is beyond me. Sure it would cost money to re-whatever a plant to manufacture trains instead of SUV’s, but what if the Rust Belt helped steer the country AWAY from reliance on the automobile. Is poetic justice the right word to describe that?

  8. The Mad Scientist fantasy is a good one, but sadly too optomistic. Those things aren’t part of a “Santa Claus” type factory that while closer to reality only exist in science fiction. The robots did little other than exact, repetitive motions to replace workers. Any Mad Scientist who had the resources to buy such a factory would have already spent the money on a lesser amount of more modern and more versatile equipment for their “Kill-Bot Army” though they’d be red with anger at China driving up the “Scrap Metal” costs.

    The reality is, it’s a sickening waste and the by product of the rich elite war to destroy the middle class it is winning hands down. If America had reasonable trade barriers, tariffs, to protect it’s own economy… Like EVERY other country in the world, especially China… It’d be a lot more practical to make cars here and sell them here. Instead we’ve had decades of jobs being lost our ‘outsourced’ as rich elite sat on their piles of wealth and managed “Multi story Outhouse” style.

    This is many billion dollars, wasted. Not illusion here. So what if the money was in ‘private hands’ and part of their ‘business decision’, they wasted billions. They should be punished for that alone.

  9. Mad Scientist? What about the workers?

    Why not have ex-employees buy (or better yet seize) the plant and reopen it under workers self management?

    Factory workers could do a much better job running a successful company than the bosses, lawyers, private equity vultures, and etc thieves that drove Chrysler into the ground.

  10. ahh, what mark pauline (aka survival research labs) could do with all this hardware. a colossal mechanized self destructing homage to the us auto industry would be SO apropos.

    time to start a collection…

  11. “Oh to be an independently wealthy mad scientist with a large laboratory, perhaps under an extinct volcano”

    Wait…you’re not? Man, my image of you is just all wrong.

  12. Aww man those lathes aren’t even automated… Those CNC machines are probably going to be hard to convert into a flexible manufacturing system… No automated transfer robots…

    This mad scientist is going to stick to his original plan to hack a bunch of automated machining centers to do his bidding. MWAHAHAHAHA!

  13. Why GM won’t use these plants to manufacture high speed railway liner or passenger train cars is beyond me.

    GM isn’t in the rolling stock business. If you’re thinking of EMD, it was sold off in 2005.

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