GM to boost production at Flint plant

September 22, 2009 http://detnews.com/article/20090922/AUTO01/909220324

GM to boost production at Flint plant

Automaker to spend $21M enhancing Flint facility for assembly of 2011 Chevrolet truck

ROBERT SNELL
The Detroit News

General Motors Co. is shifting some production of its 2011 light-duty Chevrolet crew cab truck from Mexico to Michigan and will spend $21 million to update its Flint Assembly plant.

The announcement Monday is a response to increased market demand and will give GM more flexibility to continue producing heavy-duty and light-duty models of the Chevrolet Silverado, one of the most popular vehicles purchased in the government’s "cash for clunkers" program.

GM did not specifically say how much production would increase. Chevrolet and GMC versions of the truck will continue to be produced at GM’s plant in Silao, Mexico, but a percentage of the Chevrolet production will be shifted to Flint, spokesman Kevin Nadrowski said.

It is the latest production increase and capital investment announced by GM since it emerged from bankruptcy July 10 with $50 billion in federal aid.

In Flint, GM will spend money renovating the existing heavy-duty assembly process and installing new machinery, equipment and tooling.

Construction is expected to begin in the fourth quarter with production starting in July 2010. But the move will not create additional jobs at the plant, which employs 1,767 salaried and hourly workers.

"This investment in light-duty crew cab capability enhances Flint Assembly’s manufacturing flexibility and future competitiveness," said Larry Zahner, GM’s manufacturing manager in a statement.

"The plant will now be able to produce both heavy-duty and light-duty trucks for General Motors Company on the same assembly line."

GM said last month that a second shift and 1,050 workers were being called back to work at its Lordstown assembly plant in Ohio because of increased demand for the Chevrolet Cobalt, which was a big seller during the $3 billion "cash for clunkers" program, and to prepare for production of a new, more fuel efficient compact model next year.

GM also is opening a $43 million lithium-ion battery plant in a Brownstown Township industrial park that will supply a key component of the Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric vehicle.

And the automaker is spending as much as $800 million building a new small car at its Orion Township plant.

rsnell@detnews.com">rsnell@detnews.com (313) 222-2028

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