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.