Note: This story has been updated with additional information (indicated with *) on 5/1/2015.
General Motors announced $783.5 million in plant improvements at three locations in Michigan today, the same day its Canadian subsidiary announced it will end production of its Chevrolet Camaro at its Oshawa, Ontario, assembly plant.
The plant investments include $124 million at the Pontiac Metal Center, $520 for tooling and equipment for future new vehicle programs at the Lansing Delta Township assembly plant, and $139.5 million for a new body shop and stamping facility upgrades at Pre-Production Operations in Warren.
The announcement marks the first installment of $5.4 billion in U.S. plant investments that GM has planned, with details on the others to surface in the coming months.
* Ontario's Camaro production is being moved to Lansing Grand River, to consolidate rear-wheel drive production with the Cadillac CTS and ATS. At the Oshawa plant, Camaro was the only rear-wheel drive vehicle being built. Faye Roberts, spokeswoman for GM Canada, said that GM had no date set yet for when production on the Camaro would start in Lansing, and no word on whether improvements would be made at that plant. *
The closure at the Canadian plant will result in a loss of 1,000 jobs, GM Canada said in a press release. It hopes to eliminate some of those jobs through voluntary retirement. The Canadian plant currently employs 3,600.
According to GM spokesman William Grotz, with the Michigan improvements, GM will retain 200 jobs at Warren and 1,900 at Lansing. The Pontiac improvements will create 15 jobs.
“We’ve been investing in our U.S. operations for a long time, and this is just the latest iteration of investments,” said Grotz. “We have since 2009, announced investments of approximately 16.8 millijon dollars in our U.S. operations. It’s a move to upgrade our facilities, and it’s a move to prepare our facilities and workforce for building next-generation products.”
GM North America President Alan Batey said in a press release today that “these investments are evidence of a company on the move, strategically investing in the people, tools and equipment to produce cars, trucks and crossovers that are built to win in the marketplace, with stunning design, quality and breakthrough technologies.”
In Pontiac, major body panel dies will be pre-tested under regular production conditions, enabling stamping plants to produce quality parts in shorter time, the press release stated. Pre –production vehicles in Warren are intended to address any issues long before regular production begins.
While plans for future vehicle programs in Lansing are under wraps, Grotz noted that the Lansing team recently worked with GM’s Detroit Hamtramck team on assembly techniques for the new Cadillac CT6 model, which consists of 13 different metals and alloys, including 64 percent aluminum.
In response to GM’s Michigan announcement, the state’s governor, Rick Snyder, said in a statement, “We’re going to ensure the best environment for GM, the auto industry and all other industries to grow and thrive, creating more and better jobs. That includes connecting and developing the talent to keep the economic engine running at full speed long into our state’s bright future.”