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GM Announces $7 Billion for Michigan Battery Plant, Renovations

Jan. 25, 2022
CEO Mary Barra said GM and LG Energy Solution's joint venture Ultium Cells would build a new $2.6 billion battery plant near Lansing, Michigan.

In a news conference today, General Motors Co. CEO Mary Barra announced the company would invest more than $7 billion across four of its Michigan factories in a bid to ramp up the company’s electric-vehicle production. The latest moves include a new battery factory and upgrades for existing plants. According to Barra, the new factory and renovations will create 4,000 new jobs and retain 1,000.

The largest items in the announcement are $4 billion in renovations for GM’s Orion Assembly plant to enable it to build the company’s announced electric pickup trucks and $2.6 billion to build a third battery plant operated by GM and LG Energy Solution’s joint venture Ultium Cells LLC near Lansing, Michigan. In addition, two other plants near Lansing will each receive $510 million for other upgrades and new production.

In a speech announcing the investments CEO Mary Barra said the investments were aimed squarely at GM’s transition to an all-electric business model as well as making Michigan state “the epicenter of EVs” and noted the combined $7 billion in combined investments made today’s even the largest investment announcement in GM history.

“Today we are taking the next step in our continuous work to establish GM’s EV leadership by making investments in our vertically integrated battery production in the U.S., and our North American EV production capacity,” Barra said. In her speech, Barra added the expansion furthered the company’s progress towards her stated goal of leading U.S. EV market share by 2025.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, also present at the event, evoked Michigan’s automotive history, saying the state investments would “enable us to build on our legacy as the place that put the world on wheels.”

Terry Dittes, VP of the United Auto Workers and the director of its GM department, hailed the new jobs for Orion Assembly and opened the union’s door for Ultium Cells employees. “Today’s massive investment … creates a strong future for UAW members, their families and communities,” including UAW Local 5960 Lake Orion, Dittes said.

“And in the case of the new Ultium Cell battery plant, the UAW stands ready to welcome new members as Michigan becomes a center of electric vehicle manufacturing,” he added.

The planned renovations for Orion Assembly will allow it to build two of GM’s newly announced battery-electric trucks, the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra. The $4 billion will go towards new areas for general assembly, battery pack assembly, and new body and paint shops. Barra said those renovations will create 2,350 new jobs and retain 1,000 existing jobs once the renovations become operational by 2024. The plant currently builds the Chevrolet Volt, and Barra said it would continue to do so during the factory’s conversion.

The second item on GM’s list of investments calls for a third manufacturing site for Ultium Cells, which will supply batteries to the newly-renovated Orion Assembly plant. The $2.6 billion plant, which will be the company’s third, is expected to create 1,700 jobs. Ultium Cells, an EV-battery manufacturer owned jointly by GM and LG, has one existing location in Lordstown, Ohio, and another factory under construction in Spring Hill, Tennessee.

About the Author

Ryan Secard | Associate Editor


Focus: Workforce and labor issues; machining and foundry management

Associate Editor Ryan Secard covers topics relevant to the manufacturing workforce, including recruitment, safety, labor organizations, and the skills gap. Ryan has written IndustryWeek's Salary Survey annually since 2021 and has coordinated its Talent Advisory Board since September 2023.

Ryan got started at IndustryWeek in August 2019 as an editorial intern and was hired as a news editor in 2020 before his 2023 promotion to associate editor, talent. He has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the College of Wooster.

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