General Motors, committed to investing upwards of $2 billion in plant upgrades, has just announced that it is making a $600 million investment in its Fairfax Assembly and Stamping Plant in Kansas City, KS – it is one of the largest investments GM has ever made in a single plant.

Construction is set to begin later this year, and the work will increase the footprint of the facility by 15 percent, bringing its total to to 3.7 million square feet. Production schedules will be unaffected by the work, meaning 4,000 employees will stay on the job.

Fairfax Assembly currently produces the Buick LaCrosse and Chevrolet Malibu. Operating three shifts, a completed vehicle rolls out the door every 58 seconds. The present facility was completed in 1987, but since it first opened in 1945 Fairfax has manufactured more than 12 million vehicles.
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GM Invests $600 Million in Fairfax Plant

New paint shop, other upgrades drive more efficient production, retain nearly 4,000 jobs

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – General Motors today announced a $600-million investment in the Fairfax Assembly and Stamping Plant, including the construction of a new 450,000 square-foot paint shop, the installation of a new stamping press and other upgrades.

It is one of GM's largest plant investments ever, and builds on nearly $2 billion invested in Fairfax in the last decade. Earlier this month, GM announced it would invest $1.5 billion in North American facilities in 2013. This Fairfax investment comprises a large part of that commitment.

Construction at the 3.2-million-square-foot plant begins later this year and is expected to take about two years to complete, increasing the footprint of the plant by about 15 percent to 3.7 million-square-feet. Vehicle production schedules will be unaffected by the construction, keeping the plant's three shifts of nearly 4,000 hourly and salaried employees on the job.

"This major investment is a vote of confidence in the employees and leadership of this plant and will allow them to continue producing beautiful, world-class vehicles like the Chevrolet Malibu and Buick LaCrosse – with the same quality workmanship that has defined the Fairfax complex for nearly 70 years," said GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson.

The all-new paint shop includes substantial upgrades in technology, and will occupy a new building at Fairfax, with new tooling, robots and state-of-the-art environmental and efficiency enhancements. Some of the upgrades include:

Up to 20-percent smaller footprint, up to 50-percent less energy use per vehicle and reduced Volatile Organic Compound emissions
GM-patented Radiant Tub Ovens, designed to use 20 percent less natural gas and 40 percent less electricity
Thin Film Technology, which reduces water use and maintenance and eliminates hazardous chemicals from the waste stream
Hyper Throw E-COAT, which places more coating in cavities and recesses for optimal corrosion protection.
In the stamping facility, the upgraded AA3X press will replace the current middle press used to create some of the structural reinforcements for vehicle body frames. The upgraded press is expected to enhance quality and reduce waste through greater accuracy.

"The United Auto Workers have proudly built vehicles in Fairfax for decades and looks forward to being part of the upgrades that will be taking place in the plant," said UAW Vice President Joe Ashton, who directs the union's GM Department. "This commitment to the future of the plant and the workforce is a reminder to all of us that we build the world's best vehicles, with the world's best people."

GM's Fairfax Assembly Plant has a rich and important history in Kansas City, dating to 1945. The plant has employed several hundred thousand people over nearly 70 years, built some of GM's best vehicles, and, during World War II, was the first industrial facility to make automobiles and jet fighters in the same building. The current plant opened in 1987. Since beginning production in Kansas City in 1945, more than 12 million GM vehicles have been built at Fairfax.

The Fairfax plant currently builds the Buick LaCrosse and Chevrolet Malibu. The Malibu was the first 2013 midsize car to earn a 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's New Car Assessment Program and a 2012 Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The Buick LaCrosse eAssist model was named among the "Best of What's New" technologies by Popular Science magazine.

"General Motors is one of the largest employers in Kansas and Kansas City and this announcement plays an important role in continuing to grow the economy of Kansas," said Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback. "We build great things in Kansas and GM's commitment means we will continue to do so for years to come."

Fairfax by the numbers

Year opened (current facility): 1987
Employees: 3,877 (3,561 hourly / 316 salaried)
Union: UAW Local 31
Facility size: 572 acres
Manufacturing area: 85 acres under roof
Manufacturing floor space: 3,044,561 square feet (pre-construction)
Vehicles produced in 2012: 283,213
Decade of Investments

$20 million in 2011 for upgrades related to the LaCrosse eAssist,
$136 million in 2010 for the New Generation Malibu
$158 million in 2009 for the launch of the all-new Buick LaCrosse
$208 million in 2007 for the launch of the all-new Chevrolet Malibu
$651 million in 2006 for the launch of the all-new Saturn Aura
$722 million in 2003 for the launch of the 2004 Chevrolet Malibu


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 38 Comments
      luigi.tony
      • 1 Year Ago
      WHY, taxpayers are still paying to clean up abandoned factories that are polluted and eyesores across the nation. The cost (in billions) is separate from the GM bailout. And GM still doesn't have to pay any taxes!! Must be good to be an executive at GM. Guaranteed bonuses, no consequences if your company is a failure, job security, just screw the USA tax payers. When did Socialism become acceptable. Or shall I say communism.
        richard
        • 1 Year Ago
        @luigi.tony
        Blah blah blah, probably the only one not paying any taxes is YOU. Take pride in America, and get a job. Then you can worry about paying taxes.
        Julius
        • 1 Year Ago
        @luigi.tony
        Oh, and why single GM out for not paying taxes? Chrysler and even GE didn't pay Federal taxes recently either.
          luigi.tony
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Julius
          What a dumb question. This is NOT a thread about GE or Chrysler.
      VDuB
      • 1 Year Ago
      Tank top at work.... only in 'Murica
        • 1 Year Ago
        @VDuB
        [blocked]
        Jerry
        • 1 Year Ago
        @VDuB
        When I worked on the line back in the day at Delphi, they said to not wear ties, long sleeves, jewelry, etc. because all that stuff increases your risk of getting pulled into a machine and maimed.
          VDuB
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Jerry
          Ever heard of work shirts? Seen German auto line workers?
          Jerry
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Jerry
          Yes I have. I have walked down Opel's midsize car line in Russelsheim. Go to Google and image search "German Assembly Line". You can go for pages and pages without seeing a long sleeve shirt or a tie.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Jerry
          [blocked]
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      Scr
      • 1 Year Ago
      2 Billion would build a nice new efficient plant in a right to work state.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Scr
        [blocked]
        Basil Exposition
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Scr
        Shuttering a 25yo operational plant to build a new one elsewhere would be beyond irresponsible.
          m_2012
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Basil Exposition
          You mean like they do all the time? Tesla had no problem building a world class car in what GM sold off for bonus money.
          icemilkcoffee
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Basil Exposition
          rlog100 - that's not true neither. It was Toyota's decision to sell the Nummi plant to Tesla (and invest money in Tesla).
      mbukukanyau
      • 1 Year Ago
      Now if only Americans would buy American like Japanese buy Japanese and Europeans buy European. We could have more girls boys like the ones shown here working with better union jobs, and perhaps even build enough stamina in our economy to export some of our cars
        johnbravo6
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mbukukanyau
        I think the market should be opened up and competition allowed to flourish from wherever the inspiration might arise. You know, principles the nation represents vs arbitrary flag waving.
          mbukukanyau
          • 1 Year Ago
          @johnbravo6
          Nice thought, too bad our competition does not think that way. I was a very firm believer in competition at all cost, but 2008 forced me to rethink some of that, I still look at foreign stuff, but if there is something american if its up to snuff, even if its not the very best, I buy it.
          jaydc1388
          • 1 Year Ago
          @johnbravo6
          Nobody should faulted for buying a foreign car, especially if those cars have alll the features they're looking for. But it should be recognized that some countries aren't as open to foreign trade as the US, they do practice varying degrees of protectionism, and many citizen consumers there do prefer to buy locally.
      alistair.dillingham
      • 1 Year Ago
      Speak of throwing good money ($600,000,000.00!) after bad money. These two loser dogs won't hunt, and the sales figures prove it.
        Mason
        • 1 Year Ago
        @alistair.dillingham
        They're upgrading the plant with this money, not the cars. The improvements will still be used long after these generations of the Malibu and LaCrosse are gone.
        techie69
        • 1 Year Ago
        @alistair.dillingham
        Of course no employee training or revision of the systems to manufacturing or Q.C., just an increase in manufacturing footprint. Same ole GM management, new facade but same staid, old practices.
      muspod
      • 1 Year Ago
      That motor is a mess... Maybe they could fix that TOO!!
      Julius
      • 1 Year Ago
      And your suggestion would be... what? Prevent GM from making investments in product that would keep it competitive and push the stock price higher for when Treasury sells it off? Force GM into another bankruptcy just to pay for cleaning up closed factories... even factories that are NOT GM's? Manufacturing as a whole has declined in the US, and even for companies that are growing, I don't see any of the import transplant companies rushing to buy those old factories either...
        Julius
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Julius
        This was @ luigi.tony... the comment system should be fixed
      vizcarmb
      • 1 Year Ago
      What, they dont wear safety glasses
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      Hokiegrad09
      • 1 Year Ago
      I love GM but why do all their factories look so dark and dreary? It is because they are so old?
        Basil Exposition
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Hokiegrad09
        Cause it's a real factory producing real, mass market cars. The plant is only 25 years old.
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