The four GM plants include Flint Engine South, Flint Metal Center, Flint Tool & Die and Grand Blanc Weld Tool Center. According to Larry Zahner, GM manufacturing manager, these four GM manufacturing plants have a key role in GM's production of the next generation of fuel-efficient vehicles, the Chevrolet Volt and Cruze. "The men and women at these plants are working hard to exceed their quality and cost objectives while maintaining a relentless focus on safety and improved efficiency,” he said.
The four manufacturing plants have also made significant progress in reducing their impact on the environment. The plants recycle more than 97% of the waste they generate. Materials recycled during the last year include 12 tons of batteries, 47,000 tons of scrap metal, 616 tons of oil, 229 tons of wood and 74 tons of plastic paper. Key activities performed by the four plants include development of automated equipment and tooling for the Chevy Cruze and Volt assembly plants, die development and stamping of body panels and other components and the manufacturing and assembly of key powertrain components including the 1.4L four-cylinder engine generator for the Volt and the 1.4L four-cylinder turbo engine for the Cruze.
The allocations are as follows:
- Flint Engine South: GM is investing $202 million in Flint Engine South to renovate the former I5/I6 manufacturing operations for production of a 1.4L four-cylinder engine generator for the Chevrolet Volt and a 1.4L four-cylinder turbo engine for the Cruze. The project represents approximately 240 employees.
- Flint Metal Center: $1.7 million will go toward Flint Metal Center to refurbish press lines that will produce sheet metal stampings for the Volt, representing 30 jobs.
- Flint Tool and Die: This facility designed dies for the Chevrolet Cruze and is responsible for the construction and tryout of stamping die sets for the Volt program. All dies for the Chevy Volt were engineered at Flint Tool & Die. Approximately 50% of dies for the Volt were designed at this facility.
- Grand Blanc Weld Tool Center: $30 million will be allocated toward building the robotic weld tool cells that will assemble the Volt body at the Volt assembly plant. Approximately 250 employees are working on this project, including 60 who are installing the weld tool equipment at the assembly plant. Grand Blanc Weld Tool Center also built the robotic weld tool cells for the body shop to assemble the Chevrolet Cruze at Lordstown, Ohio.
The fuel-efficient Chevrolet Cruze, which is scheduled to launch next spring, is Chevy's all-new global compact car. The Cruze will be powered by a 1.4L four-cylinder turbo engine and is expected to deliver better fuel economy than the current leader in the segment, the Chevrolet Cobalt XFE, rated at 37 mpg highway.
The Chevrolet Volt, which is scheduled to start production in late 2010 as a 2011 model, will be GM's first extended-range electric vehicle. The Volt can travel up to 40 miles on electricity from a single battery charge and can extend its overall range to more than 300 miles with its flex fuel-powered 1.4L engine-generator, which will be produced at Flint Engine South.
GM's latest investment initiative comes on the heels of recently announced plans to build a plant designed to produce lithium-ion batteries for the Chevy Volt.