GM Puts $332 Million toward Four Plant Upgrades
As we see the automotive industry shift away from big six and eight-cylinder engines and look instead at packing the most power into the compact four-cylinder, it's become clear that efficiency is rapidly becoming the key to the next-gen automobile. And that was precisely the motive behind General Motors' recent $332 million investment in four of its manufacturing plants.
The first two plants are located in Flint and Bay City Michigan, with a third in Toledo, Ohio, and the fourth in Bedford, Indiana.
The $332 million will be distributed between upgrades to enable the manufacturing of six and eight speed transmissions, along with engines such as the small “Ecotec” that's coming to the Chevy Malibu and Impala.
Although GM didn't name any specific vehicles, the company is anticipating that its new eight-speed automatic transmission will be coming to “numerous GM vehicles by the end of 2016,” supplementing the existing six-speed transmission that will also benefit from $55.7 million allocated to Toledo Transmission Operations.
The Ecotec engines will be manufactured at Flint Engine Operations, and range in design from 3 to 4 cylinders and 1 to 1.5 liters. This facility will see the largest investment of the four, taking $215 million of the overall investment.
Although the industry trend has been heading in the four-cylinder direction, the focus of these upgrades may help resuscitate the struggling V6 as well with an all-new version that will be made in some of these factories.
To help the V6 out, the company upping its existing powertrain investments by $46 million to plants in Romulus and Saginaw, Michigan, which will produce castings for and assemble the new engine.
This makes nearly $1.8 billion in investments to their six powertrain facilities since 2009.
This comes alongside GM's recent announcement that it will redesign, refresh or replace almost 90 percent of its vehicles in the North American market between now and 2016.
While many in Michigan may be excited for new jobs that announcements such as this one often suggest, GM has stated that while it will retain the 1,650 jobs in its facilities, no new jobs will be created.