General Motors said Wednesday it will invest $906.7 million at its plants in Spring Hill, Tenn., and Bay City, creating or retaining 904 jobs, the latest in a string of investment announcements by the Detroit Three in recent days.
GM said it will invest $788.7 million to retool its Spring Hill plant so it can build an all-new, fuel-efficient engine and to modernize. That investment will create 792 jobs and retain 16 jobs, GM said. The automaker also said it will invest $118 million at its Bay City Powertrain plant, where it builds engine components. That investment will create 29 jobs and retain 67 jobs, the company said.
Hiring for those positions will begin toward the end of the year, said GM manufacturing manager Arvin Jones.
The investments are part of commitments GM made as part of a new, four-year contract ratified last fall by UAW members to invest $8.3 billion over the next four years at its new plants.
Today's GM news also comes on the heels of Ford's announcement on Tuesday that it plans to invest $1.4 billion to build new transmissions at its Livonia plant and $200 million at its Avon Lake, Ohio, plant to build Ford Super Duty pickups. Also Tuesday, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles said it will invest about $75 million to build a new four-cylinder engine line at its Trenton plant.
The Ford and FCA announcements are also part of commitments made to the UAW as part of their contracts with the UAW to invest in U.S. and create jobs.
And, even though the investments were promised by the automakers last year, the official announcements are important because all of the contractual commitments are dependent on economic and market conditions. That means automakers are not legally required to carry them out if industry sales decline or the economy sours.
Taken together, the investments announced this week can be viewed as vindication for the UAW, which fought hard to secure additional U.S. plant announcements in its contract talks with the Detroit Three last fall. Still, the UAW also has lost some major battles for U.S. investment with the Detroit Three as Ford and FCA announced plans to move production of small cars and SUVs to Mexico.
In Tennessee, GM has announced investments of more than $2 billion for its Spring Hill plant since 2010. This includes a $148-million investment announced in February to re-purpose flexible machining and assembly equipment to build V8 engines.
Gov. Bill Haslam, who spoke at a news conference at the plant, heralded the announcement as highlighting GM's commitment to Tennessee and solidifying the Volunteer State's status as a major automotive sector hub. Haslam was joined by other local, state and federal officials at the news conference.
“Tennessee has an incredibly strong business climate, and we continue to attract investment from companies that can choose to do business anywhere in the world. It is important to see longtime partners like GM continue to invest in Tennessee and create high-quality jobs here," Haslam said.
The Spring Hill plant opened 26 years ago and produced Saturn vehicles until 2007. In February, GM announced the facility will build V8 engines for trucks and SUVs by the end of the year in a $148-million investment that is expected to retain about 200 jobs.
Workers at Spring Hill currently build the Cadillac XT5 and the GMC Acadia.
Construction is expected to begin next month and will last several years.
“UAW members at Spring Hill and Bay City have well-earned reputations for quality work and craftsmanship,” UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada said in a statement. “Since the 2015 collective bargaining agreement, GM has invested more than $1.7 billion and UAW-GM members, their families and their communities will all benefit for years to come.”
GM's announcement comes on the heels of last week's news that production at the Spring Hill plant would be temporarily shut down after a pair of earthquakes in Japan disrupted the automaker's supply chain. GM's facilities at Spring Hill; Oshawa Flex Assembly, Canada; Lordstown, Ohio, and Fairfax, Kan., are to be shuttered for the two weeks beginning this past Monday.
Source : freep.com