In a move that will bring back 500 jobs, General Motors Co. will invest more than $230 million in four plants around Flint, Mich. , to help build the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze compact and the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid sedan. According to GM's statement, the four GM plants are Flint Engine South, Flint Metal Center , Flint Tool and Die and Grand Blanc Weld Tool Center.
Larry Zahner, GM manufacturing manager, said that the four plants play a key role in the production of the next generation of fuel-efficient vehicles -- the Chevrolet Volt and Cruze. Among their many functions, the plants will also develop automated equipment and tooling for the Cruze and the Volt assembly plants.
Assembly of the Cruze will be done at GM's plant in Lordstown, Ohio, says Automotive News. Meanwhile, the Volt will be assembled at the Detroit-Hamtramck, Mich. plant.
The operations will include the development of dies and the stamping of body panels and components. They will also assemble key powertrain components, including the 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine and generator for the Volt and the 1.4-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine for the Cruze.
Flint Engine South will be getting the bulk (a hefty $202 million) of the investment to renovate it to build the 1.4-liter engines. Flint Metal Center will receive $1.7 million to refurbish press lines to produce sheet metal stampings for the Volt. Grand Blanc Weld Tool Center is getting about $30 million to build robotic weld tool cells that will assemble the Volt body at Detroit-Hamtramck.
The Cruze is slated to be launched next spring. The Volt will start production in November 2010. Beginning late next year, the Flint engine plant will produce 40 engines per day and ramp up to 800 engines per day by the fall of 2011.