General Motors broke ground Monday on a $380 million plant expansion to its Wentzville Assembly facility outside St. Louis, to accommodate the production of the newly designed Chevrolet Colorado midsize pick-up, creating or retaining about 1,260 jobs hourly and salaried jobs.
“Our plant could not be successful without strong support from our local community,” GM Wentzville plant manager John Dansby said . “We’re pleased to make this announcement today that strengthens our presence in Wentzville with a significant expansion of our facility that will benefit the local economy.”
Wentzville currently produces the full-size Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana cargo and passenger vans.
GM builds the existing Colorado and its sister truck the GMC Canyon, at a plant in Shreveport, La., which is slated to close.
The Wentzville plant – currently 3.7 million square feet – will grow by another half a million square feet.
A UAW official told the St. Louis Dispatch that some of the new hires at Wentzville will come from Shreveport, but estimated 80 percent of the 1,260 jobs will be filled by new hires from the St. Louis area.
A version of the truck slated for the Wentzville plant is already in production in Thailand.
Click here to read TheDetroitBureau.com’s First Look at the 2012 Colorado.
GM is gambling that sales for smaller pickup trucks will grow, precisely the opposite of Ford’s strategy. Ford ended production of its small Ranger pickup last year and won’t sell its replacement stateside. Ford has said small pickup trucks have grown so much that there’s little differences between them and their full-size brethren. And those who bought the Ranger as a work vehicle or because it was simply the cheapest new vehicle in the Ford showroom have other options such as the TransitConnect and Fiesta.
Tags: Chevrolet Colorado, Ford Fiesta, GM small pickup truck, GMC Canyon, TheDetroitBureau.com., Wentzville Assembly Plant, auto news, bryan laviolette, car news, ford ranger, ford transitconnect, mid-size pickup truck, midsize pickup, midsize pickup truck, small pickup truck