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Once-Shuttered GM Spring Hill Factory to Become Major Manufacturing Center Again

Maker plans to produce next-gen Cadillac SRX and all-new family of small engines.

by on Aug.27, 2014

Once considered the future of the U.S. auto industry, the former Saturn plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee, is getting a $233 million makeover to build the Cadillac SRX and possibly other vehicles.

It was originally hailed as the future of the U.S. auto industry, only to be mothballed in the wake of General Motors’ bankruptcy and the abandonment of the maker’s failed Saturn brand. But GM is about to make a major investment in its Spring Hill, Tennessee assembly plant that will turn the sprawling complex into one of its most flexible and promising factories.

The announced of a $233 million investment comes a quarter century after the Spring Hill plant first opened as the home of the once-promising Saturn brand. While Saturn was one of four brands abandoned as GM emerged from its 2009 bankruptcy, the powertrain portion of the Tennessee complex will produce a critical new line of small gasoline engines, while the adjacent assembly line will be re-tooled to handle upcoming midsize models.

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While GM isn’t ready to tip its hand on all its plans, it did confirm that Spring Hill will assemble the next-generation version of Cadillac’s popular SRX crossover-utility vehicle. At least one other midsize model is expected to go into the factory which will be flexible enough to handle a wide range of products in the future. (more…)

GM Doubling Investment in Once-Abandoned Plant

Spring Hill plant originally served as home to Saturn.

by on Aug.06, 2013

A new lease on life for the Spring Hill plant.

What was once one of General Motors’ most promising assembly plants – only to face abandonment as the maker plunged into bankruptcy – is getting a new lease on life.

GM will nearly double the planned investment in its Spring Hill, Tennessee assembly plant, adding $167 million to a previous package of $183 million. That will bring two separate vehicle programs to the factory, originally put up as part of the once-promising Saturn project. In all, the total, $350 million in spending should create or retain about 1,800 jobs, according to the Detroit maker.

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“Today’s announcement recognizes the commitment of Spring Hill employees and leadership,” said Mark Reuss, president, GM North America. “As a team, they draw upon the plant’s unique heritage and dedicated work force to deliver top quality for our customers.”

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GM Launching Volt in China

Meanwhile, GM production set to resume in Spring Hill.

by on Nov.23, 2011

The Chevrolet Volt was first shown in China at Shanghai's Expo 2010.

General Motors Co. has set up distribution of the American-made Chevrolet Volt in China – the plug-in hybrid set to go on sale at 13 Shanghai GM Chevrolet dealerships in eight Chinese cities, including the Chinese capitol, Beijing, as well as Shanghai itself, Hangzhou, Suzhou, Wuxi, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Foshan.

The Chevy Volt will be one of the rare U.S. exports to the booming Asian nation – now the world’s largest automotive market.  Most cars sold in China are produced in-country, with the market dominated by joint ventures pairing local and foreign makers such as the alliance between GM and Shanghai-based SAIC.

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The Chinese will see a sticker price of $75,533, or 498,000 RMB, for what GM prefers to call an extended-range electric vehicle. The Volt is designed to deliver more than 40 miles per charge of its lithium-ion battery pack.  It then can continue driving by firing up a small gasoline engine.

GM made the announcement of the distribution of the Volt in China as part of the company’s  participation in Auto Guangzhou 2011. Two of GM’s joint ventures, Shanghai GM and SAIC-GM-Wuling, are displaying more than 30 vehicles from the Buick, Chevrolet, Cadillac and the new Baojun brands.

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GM Investing $65 Mil to Boost 4-Cylinder Engine Production

Fuel prices driving shift in buyer demand.

by on Jun.20, 2011

General Motors Tonawanda Powertrain employee Tim Battaglia works on an Ecotec I-4 engine.

Rising fuel prices have triggered a marked shift in what motorists are buying these days, especially when it comes to engine choices – and that has prompted General Motors to invest more than $65 million in plants in New York and Tennessee to expand production of the Ecotec four-cylinder engines used in Chevrolet’s most fuel-efficient cars and crossovers.

While GM has continued offering 6-cylinder powertrains on many models, rising demand for four-cylinder designs is leading to aggressive shifts in both vehicle design and production plans.  Some mainstream makers, such as Hyundai, are all but abandoning sixes in midsize and smaller offerings.

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“GM is committed to investing in manufacturing and jobs in the U.S.,” said Cathy Clegg,GM’s vice president of labor relations during an announcement at the maker’s Tonawanda plant, in New York. “These investments in powertrain manufacturing technology will help us meet the growing needs of our customers for high quality, fuel efficient vehicles – both today and in the future.”

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Saturn Homecoming! Jobs Return to Spring Hill

Investment assumes successful “incentive negotiations” with local and state officials General Motors claims this morning.

by on Sep.17, 2010

Cost per taxpayer subsidized job will be controversial no doubt - the reason they weren't announced?

General Motors Company today promised to spend $483 million of taxpayer money and return 483 jobs of the 2,000 lost to its former Saturn plant complex in Spring Hill Tennessee.

There’s a catch though. This investment assumes successful “incentive negotiations” with local and state officials, according to Mark Reuss, GM North America President.

That these negotiations were not completed ahead of today’s press conference shows how leery elected officials are of a taxpayer revolt that is underway less than two months before the mid-term Congressional elections. Another – perhaps more plausible – theory is that the incentives are likely in place, but the politicians don’t want to admit to them before November.

As TDB previously reported, the jobs come from building current – and ultimately next-generation – Ecotec four-cylinder engines, as GM shifts its emphasis from larger and more fuel thirsty V6 and V8 engines. If the deal comes off,  GM would triple its North American production volume of four-cylinder engines with direct injection technology by 2012 when more stringent fuel economy rules start to take hold.  (See Unloved Ex Saturn Plant to Get New Ecotec Engine)

In a statement GM claimed that the additional work would bring to almost $2.9 billion the amount of new U.S. investment and 7,417 jobs that GM has created or retained in 20 U.S. plants since emerging from a controversial taxpayer financed – more than $50 billion –  bankruptcy in July 2009. (Hundreds of thousands of GM jobs were eliminated during the past two years, if you’re keeping score.) Employees filling these positions will be recalled in accordance with the United Auto Workers-GM National Labor agreement, which favors seniority not performance.

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