• Dec 7th 2009 at 10:57AM
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2011 Chevrolet Volt – Click above for high-res image gallery

The production of the Chevrolet Volt marks an important transition for General Motors. It marks the first plug-in electric drive vehicle that the automaker is building for sale to anyone that wants one. No more of the limited lease-only deals that were done with the EV1 a decade ago. To demonstrate its commitment to transforming transportation, GM decided to build the Volt on its home ground right in Detroit.

Today, GM is announcing that it's spending $336 million to re-tool the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant to build it. The factory, which had been building the Cadillac DTS and Buick Lucerne, is being refurbished for the Volt. GM will start building pre-pilot Volts on the assembly iine in about March of 2010 to verify production processes. The Hamtramck plant will also build the Opel/Vauxhall Ampera beginning later in 2011 for European consumption.

The Hamtramck investment is part of $700 million being invested in Michigan facilities to produce the Volt and its components. That includes a new engine line at the Flint South engine plant and the battery pack assembly plant in Brownstown Township south of Detroit.

  • 11/29/09 7:17:39 -- Los Angeles, CA, U.S.A Vehicle Chief Engineer Andrew Farah and the new Chevy Volt during the Dodger Stadium ride and drive.

[Source: General Motors]
Photos Copyright ©2009 Sam Abuelsamid / Weblogs, Inc.

For release: December 7, 2009, 10:30 a.m. EDT


•Combined Volt-related investments by GM in eight Michigan locations total $700 million
•Expected to be first plant in the U.S. owned by a major automaker to produce an electric car
•Start of regular production scheduled for late 2010

DETROIT, Mich. – General Motors will invest $336 million in the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant to begin production of the Chevrolet Volt electric car, with extended range capabilities, in 2010.

This brings GM's combined Volt-related investments in Michigan to $700 million, spread out over eight facilities. Detroit-Hamtramck will be the final assembly location for the Volt, using tooling from Grand Blanc and receiving lithium-ion batteries from GM's Brownstown Twp. battery pack manufacturing facility, cam shafts and connecting rods from Bay City and stampings and the Volt's 1.4L engine-generator from Flint.

"The Detroit-Hamtramck plant is expected to be the first facility in the U.S. owned by a major automaker to produce an electric car. It is the hub for the wheel that got rolling in 2007 when the Volt debuted at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit," Jon Lauckner, GM vice president of global product planning, said. "Since then, the field of challengers and partners has grown significantly. This competition will collaboration expedite the development of electric vehicle technology and infrastructure."

After the Volt's debut in January 2007, six plug-in hybrid or electric vehicles were announced by other automakers later that year, followed by 19 introductions in 2008 and five more this year.

In addition to GM's $700 million in Volt-related facility investments, there are the many suppliers, utility companies and organizations who are investing in Michigan and the U.S. to support Volt production and electric vehicle development. In August, the U.S. Dept. of Energy selected 45 companies, universities and organizations in 28 states for more than $2 billion in awards for electric drive and battery manufacturing and transportation electrification.

"With GM at the lead, electric vehicle development is creating entire new industries. This includes battery developers, builders of home and commercial charging stations, and power control and electric motor suppliers," Lauckner said. "Needless to say, these investments in the electric-vehicle ecosystem are creating new jobs, and strengthening Michigan's and America's long-term competitiveness."

To reduce cost and maximize flexible manufacturing techniques, some equipment for Volt production is being reused from other GM facilities and installed in the Detroit-Hamtramck plant's body shop. The Volt will be built on the existing assembly line at Detroit-Hamtramck. Assembly of Volt prototype vehicles will begin in the spring, with the start of regular production scheduled for late 2010.

Detroit-Hamtramck opened in 1985, and currently employs approximately 1,200 workers, including 1,100 hourly workers represented by UAW Local 22.

"This investment is great news for the workforce as they help pave the way for the future and the electrification of the automobile," said Cal Rapson, vice president and director UAW International Union.
The Volt is an electric vehicle with extended-range capability. It is designed to drive up to 40 miles on electricity without using gasoline or producing tailpipe emissions. When the Volt's lithium-ion battery is depleted of energy, an engine/generator seamlessly operates to extend the total driving range to about 300 miles before refueling or stopping to recharge the battery. Pricing has not been announced.

About General Motors: General Motors, one of the world's largest automakers, traces its roots
back to 1908. With its global headquarters in Detroit, GM employs 209,000 people in every
major region of the world and does business in some 140 countries. GM and its strategic
partners produce cars and trucks in 34 countries, and sell and service these vehicles through
the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, Opel, Vauxhall
and Wuling. GM's largest national market is the United States, followed by China, Brazil, the
United Kingdom, Canada, Russia and Germany. GM's OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader
in vehicle safety, security and information services. General Motors acquired operations from
General Motors Corporation on July 10, 2009, and references to prior periods in this and other
press materials refer to operations of the old General Motors Corporation. More information on
the new General Motors can be found at www.gm.com.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      This will be the biggest plant for the year 2011 & after all the investment of $700 million is not small amount for any new plant. This plant is also helpful in future for making new version of Volt or for any new plug in car. This the first step of Volt & i think it is not bad.
      • 5 Years Ago

      Your thought process and attitudes are why unions exist in the first place. As a son of a Labor lawyer who spent his working years dealing with the UAW from the magement side let me give you a quote from him, "I never saw a company or a plant with a union that did not deserve it".
      Have you ever been to Germany or Japan,Korea? heavily unionized countries. Would I as a management person want to deal with a union? of course not but I do believe in a free society they should have the choice to decide for themselves without interference by me. And as a matter of fact I do deal with unionized pilots on a daily basis.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Oh, and I actually agree with your quote, that's why there are no unions in the south. The companies have learned to treat their employees better than their competitors for the mutual benefit of the company and employee. Keep pay and benefits competitive, keep the workplace safe and pleasant, wam-bam people are magically happy with their employer. There's no big secret really. It's not as if middle management carries sub-machine guns around when there's no union in the plant. I actually know several line workers and aside from having really boring jobs and having to do shift work, none of them complain about their workplace. They do pretty well for themselves too, and even carpool to work like us greenies... but they do it in a brand-new-virtually-free M-class Mercedes. What a rough life.
        • 5 Years Ago
        They do have a choice. The labor laws in the south do not prohibit unions or stop them from forming. Southerners have by in large chosen not to allow them into their places of employment. I don't have a problem with unions; I have a problem with the UAW. Unions like the UAW that stopped protecting the worker and started punishing the business need to be shut down. My attitude is why the good people of our state have consistently driven by the unionists in the street begging them to sign their cards. My attitude is why the south is getting another assembly line in the Mercedes plant in Tuscaloosa and the Tupelo plant is moving forward with its new line. The only reason Detroit has any new automotive business at all is because of $550 million in public money for the companies willing to put battery plants in the state.

        If unions like the UAW and APA didn't give themselves such a bad name, this discussion might be very different. As is, the economy is speaking, and they are killing their own jobs. Wake up and smell the money, you can't force the market to do things the way you want them. In a free market if a qualified person is willing to work for less, they will do the work, it's pretty simple.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The Volt may not save Detroit, but it's a good start. I think the only thing that could really revitalize that place is UAW taking a hike and letting the auto industry compete naturally. Maybe they could reuse some of the auto plants for solar panels or wind turbines or something...
        • 5 Years Ago
        How about southern states quit subsidizing foreign automakers' plants to level the playing field? Or repealing right-to-work laws in the south so wages and benefits are raised (heaven forbid people earn a more decent living!). You anti-unionists are really shameful in your desire to see America race to the bottom in wages, benefits and other workplace standards.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'm not going to talk about the 5-ton elephant in the room, but I will acknowledge its existence: bailouts; enough said.

        Now, my point. The average income in the state of Alabama for all occupations is $17.39. That's the average, including CEO's, doctors, lawyers, engineers, McDonald's employees, everybody. The Median, which may be more representative of the common person's actual income is $13.53. These statistics are available on Bureau of Labor Statistics website www.bls.gov for you to check yourself. The national minimum wage is $7.25 (dol.gov), just about half the average person's income. Auto workers in this state START at $14 per hour IF they work at the lowest paying plant in the state, Hyundai. If they work there for two years they earn an average of $21 per hour. IF you are an auto worker in this state with any skill at all you can probably land a job at one of the other manufacturers who's average salary at two years of experience is roughly $26 per hour. Keep in mind that ALL of these jobs have benefits, including health insurance. Are they required to? No, not by law. They pay these amounts because good help is hard to find and they want to keep their employees.

        For the record, wages are not the big concern for us Merit Shop guys. The wages will sort themselves out, and we'll pay what our competitors pay or more to keep the employees we want. The key here is that we have the right-to-not-work in this state, and I can fire people if they're not performing. I can fire people if they smell funny, I can fire them because they piss me off, I can fire them because I haven't got anything better to do that day! The point is, you are not entitled to a job; you have to earn your job. If you're not good enough to prove your worth then you're not good enough to work for me, and I'll get rid of you whenever I please. THAT is why the southern manufacturers are more efficient, THAT is why we have better employees, and THAT is why the UAW will never make it down here, because our EMPLOYEES know that they're better, and they know they don't want that communist BS in THEIR workplace.

        The only thing keeping the UAW out is our employees not signing cards... why do you think they don't sign them?
        • 5 Years Ago

        Are you suggesting that job performance be evaluated when deciding whether or not to fire someone? That certainly wouldn't go over well with the UAW. Obviously, suggesting job performance be taken into account in staffing divisions means you're a heartless right-wing oligarch who hates workers and their families and wants them to work for nothing.

        I'm sure Luis hates right-to-work laws as they have rightfully shifted production from where it is most costly and least efficient (UAW plants) to the South. The funny thing is workers in the South earn roughly the same amount of money and health benefits. Unfortunately, these workers do not have the option to retire at 48 with full pension and benefits for the rest of their lives like their UAW counterparts. I guess that's what they mean by a "decent living," a living so decent that no one outside the public sector unions could imagine retiring so early.
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