GM announces $5.4 billion in U.S. plant investments

(May 1, 2015) PONTIAC, Mich. — General Motors announced Thursday it will invest $5.4 billion in U.S plant improvements during the next three years, including details of $783.5 million for three Michigan facilities.

“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,” GM North America President Alan Batey said at the Pontiac Metal Center, where $124 million will be invested.

Two other investments detailed Thursday are $520 million for tooling and equipment for future new vehicle programs at the Lansing Delta Township assembly plant, retaining 1,900 jobs, and $139.5 million for a new body shop and stamping facility upgrades at Pre-Production Operations in Warren.

“The common thread among our investments is the focus on product improvements that benefit customers,” said Cathy Clegg, vice president of GM North America Manufacturing. “Together with our UAW partners, we’re working hard to exceed consumers’ ever-increasing quality expectations.”

All major body panel dies will be pre-tested in Pontiac under regular production conditions, enabling stamping plants to produce quality parts in shorter time; pre-production vehicles in Warren will surface issues long before regular production begins; and new products in Lansing will be among the best the company has built, she said.

The $5.4-billion new investment translates to GM investing in U.S. operations about $5 million a day or $150 million every month for the next three years.

GM will detail the remaining $4.6 billion and identify plants involved over the next several months.

Since June 2009, GM has announced U.S. facility investment of approximately $16.8 billion. About $11.4 billion of that has come since the 2011 UAW-GM National Agreement. In total, these investments have created 3,650 new jobs and secured the positions of approximately 20,700 others.

At the same time, it was announced that GM will eliminate one shift at its Oshawa, Ontario, assembly plant in November, cutting about 1,000 jobs as it makes production changes that were announced in 2012. GM said it would offer retirement incentives to avoid layoffs. More than half of the 3,600 hourly workers at the plant are nearing retirement.

After Nov. 20 Oshawa Assembly will stop producing the Chevrolet Camaro, GM said. The company announced in 2012 that it would build the next-generation Camaro in Lansing, Mich., not Oshawa.

The "flex" line, which currently produces the Camaro as well as the Buick Regal, Chevy Impala and Cadillac XTS, will drop from three shifts to two. The separate "consolidated" line will continue at one shift.

GM said it would record a restructuring charge of about $200 million, mainly in the second quarter of 2015, because of the move. It said the charges were included in its January forecast of $700 million in restructuring charges for 2015.

Sources: General Motors, Reuters