General Motors will spend $145 million to build the new Buick Verano

Article by Christian Andrei, on October 8, 2010

General Motors Co. is prepared to spend $145 million to build the Verano, a new Buick compact car at its Orion Township assembly plant north of Detroit. This factory also assembles the Chevrolet Aveo subcompact. Under a new labor deal, GM asserts that the Aveo will be the first profitable subcompact car to be made in the US.

GM disclosed that the tooling required for the Verano and Aveo will be put in by summer 2011 while production is expected to start in the second half of the year. These two vehicles will be marketed as 2012 models.

GM North America President Mark Reuss, who interestingly had worked as a body shop robot programmer at the Orion Township plant, said that the Verano will be Buick's first compact car in 20 years.

Reuss expects consumers in the US to be attracted to a premium small car that provides good fuel economy without having to sacrifice features that offer comfort. At a news conference announcing the project and labor agreement at the Orion plant, Reuss said, "This will be Job 1 in this resurgence.”

To get the plant ready to build the Aveo and Verano, GM will spend $600 million. The platform used on the Chevrolet Cruze compact is the same one that Verano will use.

The Chevrolet Cruze compact had recently started production at Lordstown, Ohio. Reuss said that he is convinced that buyers will like the Buick Verano much more than a rebadged Chevrolet Cruze.

Press Release

GM Invests $145 Million for Small Cars at Orion Assembly

Lake Orion, Mich. – General Motors will invest $145 million at the Orion Assembly Center, GM North American President Mark Reuss said today. Orion will be the home to Chevrolet's new small car and Buick's future compact sedan – the all-new Verano.

"Verano will bring premium styling, performance and content to Buick buyers wanting a smaller car than Regal," said Reuss. "The investment in Orion Assembly also extends GM's local small car footprint, again increasing the number of U.S.-made small vehicles available in showrooms."

The investment to retool the facility will retain 1,550 hourly and salaried jobs at Orion, along with 120 jobs at Pontiac Metal Center. In June 2009, GM announced that Orion would build the next-generation of Chevrolet's new small car. The total investment for that program is approximately $600 million, which includes the Verano.

GM has worked closely with the United Auto Workers to create new and innovative contractual language that will allow this facility to be flexible and lean – essential elements in the highly competitive, small car market segment.

"The UAW welcomes the news of an additional vehicle being allocated to the Orion Assembly Plant. Building small cars in the United States is very important to the UAW, Oakland County, and the State of Michigan," said Joe Ashton, UAW vice president of the GM Department.

"Given the opportunity, our members can use their expertise and experience to build high-quality, affordable vehicles for American consumers. I would like to extend my congratulations to the members of UAW Locals 653 and 5960 for all their hard work to make this important project a successful one."

Verano adds a premium compact entry into the market, expanding the portfolio of what is currently the fastest-growing mainstream brand in the United States.

Orion Assembly is in the process of retooling the plant, which last built GM midsize sedans, for future small cars. The improvements are expected to be finished by summer 2011.

Over its more than 27-year history, the Orion plant team members have built more than 4 million cars for GM, while setting an industry record of 10 million man hours of continuous operation without a work day lost to injury. The plant also was the first GM facility to receive the Clean Corporate Citizen designation by the State of Michigan.

No further details on production or timing for the Verano and Chevrolet's new small car are available at this time.

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