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GM Announces Ambitious Investment Plan

General Motors Co. recently announced plans to spend $483 million and add 483 jobs building current- and next-generation Ecotec four-cylinder engines at its powertrain complex in Spring Hill, Tenn.

According to GM, the additional work would bring to almost $2.9 billion the amount of new U.S. investment and 7,417 jobs that GM has created or retained in 20 U.S. plants since emerging from bankruptcy in July 2009. Employees to fill these positions will be recalled from layoff in accordance with the United Auto Workers-GM National Labor agreement.

“The engines made in Spring Hill will drive the success of GM to meet our customer demands for advanced powertrains, which offer high fuel economy without sacrificing performance,” said Mark Reuss, president, GM North America. “This new commitment to the Spring Hill team will help GM almost triple its North American production volume of four-cylinder engines with direct injection by 2012.”

According to Reuss, the investment in state-of-the-art four-cylinder engines is another example of GM’s commitment to replace larger-displacement engines with more compact, advanced four-cylinder engines that optimize fuel savings and performance. The next generation Ecotec engine is an integral part of GM transforming its product portfolio to reduce fuel consumption and emissions.

The spending plan includes $23 million that would add 30 hourly jobs to increase production beginning in the first quarter of 2011 of the current-generation Ecotec engine used in popular products like the Chevrolet Equinox, Buick LaCrosse and GMC Terrain.

Currently, the Spring Hill Powertrain Plant produces three variants of the Ecotec engine: The award-winning Ecotec 2.4L with direct injection (DI) is found in the Equinox, Terrain, LaCrosse, Buick Regal, Chevrolet Captiva (Mexico) and Daewoo Alpheon (Korea). The Ecotec 2.0L DI Turbo is used in models of the Opel Insignia (Europe), Buick LaCrosse (China), and Regal. The Ecotec 2.4L Multiport Fuel Injection engines are shipped to Korea for the Captiva and Antara.

The additional Spring Hill powertrain production follows announcements in February of $494 million for additional capacity at GM plants in Tonawanda, N.Y.; Defiance, Ohio; and Bay City, Mich. Those projects are expected to result in about 550 jobs.

‘CRUZE’ CONTROL

Earlier this month GM announced production of the much-anticipated 2011 Chevrolet Cruze at its plant in Lordstown, Ohio. The rollout of the Chevrolet Cruze, which features the spaciousness and amenities of a midsize car with the fuel economy and price of a compact, was celebrated with red, white and blue models symbolically declaring that a world-class small car can be assembled in America by a domestic company. The first vehicles for delivery to buyers were driven off the line at the Lordstown plant in front of GM employees, dignitaries, union representatives and community members.

“We are delivering a car with the quality which Americans desire matched with features they would not expect in this segment, from 40 mpg on our Eco model to 10 airbags as standard across the range,” Reuss noted. “Of equal importance, we are working to redefine the views on a domestic carmaker building such a car here in the United States.”

When the first Cruze sedans arrive at U.S. dealerships, they will offer consumers more for their money, with class-leading standard safety features, expected class-leading fuel economy, and more standard equipment than competitive vehicles. With a starting price of $16,995, the Cruze includes 10 air bags, StabiliTrak electronic stability control with rollover sensing, traction control, anti-lock brakes, collapsible pedal system, and OnStar with Automatic Crash Response.

Cruze is already Chevrolet’s top-selling car worldwide this year, with more than 165,000 sold, and second only to the Silverado full-size pickup for all Chevrolet vehicles – even before sales begin this month in the United States.
 

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Automotive  •  Industry Trends & Happenings

 

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