On the former site of the historic Buick City complex in Flint, Mich. the Lear Corp., a supplier of automotive seating and electrical systems broke ground on October 2 on a new seat manufacturing facility.
Lear’s Flint seating plant will be the first major automotive supplier manufacturing facility constructed in Flint in more than 30 years.
Plans call for the 156,000-sq.ft. facility to begin production of seats by April 2018.
The facility will employ approximately 600 workers, when it reaches full production.
And 33% of the 33-plus acre site will be green space.
Lear, which was founded in Detroit in 1917 as American Metal Products, said they chose the Buick City site for a number of reasons including its proximity to the homes of many of its workers, the location of the GM plant, as well as the corporation’s objective to give back to the communities in which it operates.
The Flint area has been hard hit in recent years, and Lear also wants to bring manufacturing back to the area since many manufacturing jobs in Flint have been lost over the past several decades.
“I have a lot of pride in Flint; it helped shape who I am today,” said Ray Scott, executive vice president of Lear, at the groundbreaking. “We had options for other locations that we considered, but what was important to us was that this was the right thing to do from a community standpoint. To build a modern, state of the art facility at that location is very symbolic and historic.”
Flint holds sentimental value for Ray Scott, who grew up in Flint and worked while attending the University of Michigan-Flint delivering parts just-in-time to General Motors.
Lear worked with GM and the City of Flint while deciding on the location for the new manufacturing facility. The Michigan Strategic Fund board approved a $4.35-million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant to support Lear’s $29.3-million capital investment at the site, which includes the subassembly and final assembly of automotive seats.
“We have a long relationship with Lear during its 100 years of business,” said Tom McMillen, executive director, Interiors & Safety, Global Purchasing & Supply Chain at General Motors.
“Lear has earned GM's coveted Supplier of the Year designation 16 times and our partnership continues as we both commit to this next phase for Flint. Our next-generation vehicles to be produced in Flint are our newest step in almost $3 billion we have invested in Flint since 2009."