GM investing $225 million to save ex-Saturn plant

We're not sure what's going to be produced there, but GM is investing $225 million in their Spring Hill, Tennessee Saturn plant. The Ion and Vue are currently built in Spring Hill, but production of those vehicles will be ceasing in March 2007. Once the plant is cleared of vehicles, the paint shop will go under the knife and be renovated for future vehicle production. The goal of the paint shop upgrades is to accomodate any size vehicle GM plans to build. These plans hinge on GM securing incentives from Tennessee, but it's a great vote of confidence in the UAW workforce and building cars in America. Hey, our Toyotas and Hondas are built here, so why should we buy GMs built elsewhere? Saturn is looking quite promising, with a raft of new, and very good, vehicles. It's unclear how drastic the refit of the plant will be, and whether it will be building multiple platforms at a time, or if it'll be limited to a single platform. With Saturn vehicles sharing corporate architecture, it bodes well for offering some flexibility and capacity to GM's manufacturing muscle across the brands. Let's hope they continue to focus on quality before quantity, though. You'll only be able to use that capacity if the cars are good enough to make people want them.

Press release after the jump

[Source: GM]


GM Investing $225 Million in Tennessee Plant in Preparation For Future Vehicle Production

SPRING HILL, Tenn. – General Motors today announced it plans to invest approximately $225 million in its Spring Hill manufacturing complex to renovate the plant's paint shop in preparation for future vehicle production. The investment is contingent on GM securing incentives from the state of Tennessee.

Based on the strong performance of the Spring Hill team, General Motors' pending investment affirms the company's commitment to its Tennessee operations.

"GM's planned $225 million investment in Spring Hill is proof that this facility remains an important part of GM's North American manufacturing plans," said Tim Lee, GM vice president for Manufacturing and Labor Relations. "This project is instrumental to GM's efforts to strengthen its core manufacturing capabilities in the United States and also demonstrates the value GM places on working together with our UAW partners to improve our manufacturing operations."

GM's Spring Hill manufacturing complex built its first vehicle on July 30, 1990. Since then, the complex has built and shipped more than 3.4 million vehicles. It currently builds the Saturn ION passenger car and Saturn VUE compact SUV. Production of the ION and VUE will be discontinued in late March 2007.

With the investment, the plant will be idled for several months for renovations, beginning in April 2007. The company is finalizing the timing of when the hourly workforce will be called back to work and when production will resume at Spring Hill.

The Spring Hill assembly plant employs approximately 3,500 UAW-represented team members and 230 salaried team members. UAW Local 1853 represents hourly employees throughout the complex.

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