General Motors will be investing $600 million in the Fairfax Assembly and Stamping Plant to construct a new 450,000 square-foot paint shop and install a new stamping press as well as other upgrades. It is one of the biggest plant investments that GM has ever made. It builds on almost $2 billion invested in Fairfax in the past decade.
In early January, GM revealed that it will invest $1.5 billion in facilities in North America in 2013. This Fairfax investment is composed of a big portion of this commitment. GM will start constructing the 3.2-million-square-foot plant later this year. It’s likely to take around two years to complete, expanding the footprint of the plant by approximately 15% to 3.7 million-square-feet.
The construction will not affect the vehicle production schedules, which means that the plant will still have its three shifts of almost 4,000 hourly and salaried employees on the job.
GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson said that the huge investment stands for a vote of confidence in the workers and the leaders in this plant. He thinks that this will enable them to continue producing “beautiful, world-class vehicles” such as the Chevrolet Malibu and Buick LaCrosse with the same quality workmanship that has defined the Fairfax complex for almost 70 years.
At the stamping facility, the updated AA3X press will replace the present middle press utilized to build several of the structural reinforcements for vehicle body frames. It’s expected that the upgraded press will improve quality and lessen waste through higher accuracy.
Bryan Nesbitt, the executive director for GM exterior design and Chevrolet Brand, said that the Chevrolet Malibu’s exterior design carries the same elements from its sister vehicles, the Camaro and Corvette. Thus, the vehicle brings a sporty look to the sedan family segment.
Malibu has new sporty and more aggressive appearance with its wider stance, broad shoulders and an integrated rear spoiler. Compared to the model it replaces, the new Chevrolet Malibu has a 4.5-inch wheelbase (114 mm shorter), and 62-inch front (1,574 mm) and 2-inch wider rear tracks (51 mm wider)
New Chevrolet Malibu has added exterior design cues that include the dual-port grille, the new Camaro-inspired LED dual-element taillamps, the projector HID headlamps and larger Chevrolet bow-tie badges front and rear. The over-all look is complemented by a range of large 17-, 18- and 19-inch wheels.
With a coefficient of drag (Cd) rating near Chevrolet Volt’s Cd of .280, the new Malibu exterior is anticipated to be SAE-certified as one of the most aerodynamically efficient cars in its class. As compared to the previous model, engineers were able to remove 60 counts of wind drag because of the Chevrolet Malibu’s new shape and design.