General Motors (GM) is to invest $245m and add 300 new jobs at its Orion Assembly plant in Michigan to support the launch of an all-new vehicle program.
GM said the new vehicle program at the Origin plant would be “unlike any in the plant’s 32-year history” but didn’t elaborate further.
“Orion Assembly is a breeding ground for manufacturing innovation,” said Cathy Clegg, GM North America vice president of Manufacturing and Labor Relations. “It serves as a model for how to engage the entire workforce at all levels to achieve success. The plant is up to the challenge of building this brand-new product, something it’s never seen before.”
Investment in Orion totals $962m since the United Automobile Workers (UAW) and GM worked together to reopen the previously idled plant in 2010.
This latest investment comes just seven months after the announcement of a $160m investment to launch Chevrolet’s game-changing Bolt EV, which is expected to achieve more than 200 miles (320km) of range on a single electric charge.
“Orion is an example of what we can achieve when we work together,” said UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada, who leads the union’s GM Department. “Only through innovative problem solving were we going to see this plant succeed, and this new investment is proof of that. UAW-GM continue to show the world that when you involve both workers and management in the process, workers win, management wins and our communities win.”
According to GM, the Orion plant has a unique culture that encourages employees to offer solutions to problems that positively impact the business. For example, a team of hourly, salaried and skilled trades’ workers from the paint shop recently developed a process monitoring tool for robotic paint applicators that alerts operators to potential failures before they happen. The innovative approach to preventive maintenance is now being applied to other GM manufacturing sites and will help avoid millions in costs annually.
The investment announcement is a part of the $5.4bn GM announced it will invest in US manufacturing over the next three years. Approximately $3.1bn of the $5.4bn has been identified, leaving $2.3bn to be announced by year end.
Since June 2009, GM has announced US facility investment of approximately $17.8bn. About $12.4bn of that has come since the 2011 UAW-GM National Agreement. In total, these investments have created 6,250 new jobs and secured the positions of approximately 20,700 others.
GM invests $119m at Grand Rapids
General Motors also announced this month that it will invest $119m in tools and equipment to support production of future vehicle components at its Grand Rapids Operations in Wyoming, Michigan, which will create a further 300 future jobs.
The plant currently has approximately 500 employees on three shifts and produces a variety of precision-machined automotive engine components used in Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles.
Details about program timing and applications will be released later this year.
“This investment in the future recognizes the excellent workforce at Grand Rapids Operations” said GM North America Manufacturing Manager Scott Whybrew. “It also demonstrates GM’s collaboration with our UAW partners to innovate and bring tangible benefits to our customers.”