GM announces $5.4B in plant investments

General Motors on Thursday announced plans to invest $5.4 billion in U.S plant improvements over the next three years – including $783.5 million earmarked for three Michigan facilities.

“These investments are evidence of a company on the move, strategically investing in the people, tools and equipment to produce cars, trucks and crossovers that are built to win in the marketplace, with stunning design, quality and breakthrough technologies,” GM North America President Alan Batey said at the Pontiac Metal Center, where $124 million will be invested.

Other investments for Michigan plants include the $520 million for tooling and equipment for future new vehicle programs at the Lansing Delta Township assembly plant, retaining 1,900 jobs, and $139.5 million for a new body shop and stamping facility upgrades at pre-production operations in Warren.

“The common thread among our investments is the focus on product improvements that benefit customers,” said Cathy Clegg, vice president of GM North America Manufacturing. “Together with our UAW partners, we’re working hard to exceed consumers’ ever-increasing quality expectations.”

All major body panel dies will be pre-tested in Pontiac under regular production conditions, enabling stamping plants to produce quality parts in shorter time; pre-production vehicles in Warren will surface issues long before regular production begins; and new products in Lansing will be among the best the company has built, she said.

GM will detail the remaining $4.6 billion and identify plants involved over the next several months.

Since June 2009, GM has announced U.S. facility investment of approximately $16.8 billion. About $11.4 billion of that has come since the company’s 2011 national agreement with the United Auto Workers Union. In total, the investments have created 3,650 new jobs and secured the positions of approximately 20,700 others.

Locally, the company previously committed more than $250 million to retool and ready its Lordstown assembly plant for the launch of the next generation Chevrolet Cruze. So far, GM has invested approximately $600 million in Lordstown to support this generation of the Cruze – with about 1.25 million units manufactured at the plant since 2010 – and its next generation.

The company has remained mum on the exact launch date and any details about the vehicle. Some analysts have said they expect it to be unveiled next year. Annalisa Bluhm, Chevy’s spokeswoman for small cars, has said consumers can expect an announcement by the end of this year, which also marks the tentative timeline for the Lordstown plant to be ready to start rolling out the next generation.

General Motors Co. and its partners produce vehicles in 30 countries. GM, its subsidiaries and joint venture entities sell vehicles under the Chevrolet, Cadillac, Baojun, Buick, GMC, Holden, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling brands.