A renovation budget of $1 billion has been proposed by General Motors for its Tech Center campus in Warren, Mich., located just north of Detroit, according to a source. GM spokesman Dan Flores said that the company has asked for tax breaks from the city but there has been no approval yet.
Admittedly, the amount is huge but it isn’t outlandish if the plan is to be competitive and be able to construct the product-development works and research centers the company needs.
Joe Phillippi, president of AutoTrends Inc., a consulting firm in Andover, N.J., said that it’s “very possible” that the 60-year-old facility has not received any updates. He believes that GM may require the space considering GM’s plans and all of the advanced technologies.
For Toyota’s operations in the U.S., it has spent $1.2 billion to develop its facilities in Arizona, California and Michigan. It also revealed plans to make additional investments of nearly $200 million. Toyota Motor Corp., the largest automaker in the world, has its primary product-development sites in Japan.
An insider said that GM’s renovations may include the construction of several new buildings to accommodate 2,500 new employees, majority of which are in electrical engineering, information technology and software development. Phillippi said that today’s car needs a lot more software than the older cars.
The future cars, specifically those that are self-driving and those that run on hydrogen or electricity, require even more software.
Flores said that no major renovations have been done on GM's Tech Center, which houses Toyota’s basic mechanical engineering and design studios to the battery lab for electric- drive autos.
The facility was constructed in the 1950s. He thinks that for this facility to be regarded as world-class, it has to undergo a lot of renovations. He pointed out though that the project hasn’t been approved yet.
No additional details about this project have been released. In fact, we only learned about this proposal when the mayor of Warren mentioned GM's proposal in a speech he made recently.