GM to reopen Tennessee Saturn plant for Chevy Equinox

November 21, 2011

GM to reopen Tennessee Saturn plant for Chevy Equinox
/ The Detroit News

General Motors Co. said Monday it will reopen its former Saturn plant in Spring Hill, Tenn., to build extra supplies of the hot-selling Chevy Equinox.

The Detroit-based automaker will invest $61 million and add 685 hourly and salaried jobs to turn the assembly plant — shuttered in 2009 as part of GM’s bankruptcy restructuring — into an “ultra flexible” factory capable of building a range of vehicles including the Equinox crossover, said Cathy Clegg, GM’s vice president of labor relations.

The plant will supplement production at factories building cars and trucks in high demand. It will start building the Chevy Equinox in the second half of next year, adding output of the crossover that is currently built in Canada on three shifts.

“This won’t be a typical plant,” Clegg said, speaking Monday in Spring Hill.

The flexibility to build a range of models without having to spend a lot of downtime to retool will allow GM customers to get top-selling cars without waiting, Clegg said.

In addition, GM plans to invest another $183 million in the plant at an undisclosed future date. The investment, which would create another 1,200 jobs, will support the production of an unspecified midsize vehicle for the 2015 model year.

“We don’t like to tip our hand to the competition, so stay tuned,” Clegg said.

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