There hasn't been a whole lot of positive news for Michigan's economy in the last few years and the auto industry has been among the low-lights. Since the 1980s, the city of Flint, in particular, has been the icon for everything that has gone wrong in the U.S. auto industry. However, in the midst all the bad news from GM about truck plant closings on Tuesday, there were a few positive nuggets especially for Michigan. We've known since last fall that GM was planning to build the Chevy Volt in Detroit come 2010, but getting official production approval from the Board of Directors was definitely a sign that the program is on track. Also buried among the negative stuff yesterday was the plan to add a third production shift at the Lake Orion assembly plant near Pontiac. Lake Orion builds the Pontiac G6 and recently added production of the Chevy Malibu. Malibu sales are so strong right now that more capacity is needed. In Flint, where many of the production facilities that once dotted the city have now been shuttered or demolished, 1,000 jobs are being preserved by the assignment of a new engine family to the engine plant there. A family of small engines ranging from 1.0-1.4L will be produced in Flint. The 1.4L is the new turbocharged engine that will go into the new compact coming from Lordstown, Ohio next year as well as the Saturn Astra and other models. The 1.0L may well be the three cylinder that is used to drive the range extending generator for the Volt. Hopefully for Michigan this is just the start of a resurgence for more efficient and more reasonably sized vehicles to replace all those over-sized SUVs of the past decade.

[Source: Detroit Free Press]


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