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Spring Hill hoping history will repeat on GM engine

Spring Hill hoping history will repeat on GM engine


Nashville Business Journal – by Eric Snyder Staff Writer

A General Motors spokesperson said the Spring Hill powertrain plant is disappointed they were not named in GM’s recent announcement to invest $425 million in its Tonawanda, N.Y. facility to produce the next-generation Ecotec engine, but is hopeful that future announcements will be forthcoming.

“I think going forward that there will be two plants building the (second generation) engine, and that other plant hasn’t been announced,” said Andrea Hales, a GM spokesperson for its facilities in Spring Hill and Bowling Green, Ky. Spring Hill, of course, is hopeful they might be that second plant. Spring Hill has produced the first generation Ecotec engine since 2002.

The past could be prologue. Hales said the first-generation Ecotec was first built in Tonawanda, with production at Spring Hill announced later.

In addition to the $425 million investment in Tonawanda, GM announced last week that it would invest $59 million in a Defiance, Ohio plant and $10.5 million at a Bay City, Mich. plant to support powertrain production at Tonawanda.

Of the approximately 1,000 GM employees still working in Spring Hill, over 300 work in its powertrain production facility. Hales said the current generation of the Ecotec engine is to be phased out between 2012 and 2013. However, Hales said the plant also produces the LAF engine — used in the Chevy Equinox, Buick LaCrosse and Buick Regal — and another engine used in some of GM’s overseas offerings.

Until the manufacturing facility was idled at the end of November, Spring Hill was the production site of the Chevrolet Traverse. AS GM finds itself struggling to meet demand for some of its vehicles, The Detroit Free Press has reported that it is a leading candidate for GM to launch a manual body shop, as opposed to a fully automated line.

Hales, however, said she was aware of no such plans.

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