General Motors was happy to show off its revamped Chevrolet Aveo at the Paris Motor Show last week. The car is a fresh change of pace from the last generation Aveo, and a strong step forward for Chevrolet in the subcompact segment. It may be a good car, but word on the street around the company's Orion Township plant suggests that The General might be ditching the Aveo moniker. Apparently, GM wants to distance itself from the lackluster last generation car. A new name could go a long way in helping the car get off on the right foot, but seeding a new name in this industry among potential consumers costs tens of millions of dollars, so it would likely be a very costly decision.
Speaking of costly, as expected, GM confirmed yesterday that it will spend $145 million on its Orion plant to build both the Aveo (or whatever it ends up being called) and Buick's first premium small car in over 20 years, the Verano (teaser at right). The investment, GM says, will save 1,500 jobs. The Orion plant, you may recall, was earmarked to produce the U.S. version of the Chevrolet Orlando, a three-row MPV that was subsequently canceled for the States.
You can read about GM's investment in the company's official press release after the jump (note that while GM talks of the Buick Verano by name, it only refers to "Chevrolet's new small car," adding fuel to the name-change fire).
Photos copyright ©2010 Drew Phillips / AOL
Sources: Detroit Free Press]
GM Invests $145 Million for Small Cars at Orion Assembly
Orion Assembly Fact Sheet
* Manufacturing site of future Buick compact sedan
* Investment will help retain 1,550 jobs
Lake Orion, Mich. – General Motors will invest $145 million at the Orion Assembly Center, GM North American President Mark Reuss said today. Orion will be the home to Chevrolet's new small car and Buick's future compact sedan – the all-new Verano.
"Verano will bring premium styling, performance and content to Buick buyers wanting a smaller car than Regal," said Reuss. "The investment in Orion Assembly also extends GM's local small car footprint, again increasing the number of U.S.-made small vehicles available in showrooms."
The investment to retool the facility will retain 1,550 hourly and salaried jobs at Orion, along with 120 jobs at Pontiac Metal Center. In June 2009, GM announced that Orion would build the next-generation of Chevrolet's new small car. The total investment for that program is approximately $600 million, which includes the Verano.
GM has worked closely with the United Auto Workers to create new and innovative contractual language that will allow this facility to be flexible and lean – essential elements in the highly competitive, small car market segment.
"The UAW welcomes the news of an additional vehicle being allocated to the Orion Assembly Plant. Building small cars in the United States is very important to the UAW, Oakland County, and the State of Michigan," said Joe Ashton, UAW vice president of the GM Department.
"Given the opportunity, our members can use their expertise and experience to build high-quality, affordable vehicles for American consumers. I would like to extend my congratulations to the members of UAW Locals 653 and 5960 for all their hard work to make this important project a successful one."
Verano adds a premium compact entry into the market, expanding the portfolio of what is currently the fastest-growing mainstream brand in the United States.
Orion Assembly is in the process of retooling the plant, which last built GM midsize sedans, for future small cars. The improvements are expected to be finished by summer 2011.
Over its more than 27-year history, the Orion plant team members have built more than 4 million cars for GM, while setting an industry record of 10 million man hours of continuous operation without a work day lost to injury. The plant also was the first GM facility to receive the Clean Corporate Citizen designation by the State of Michigan.
No further details on production or timing for the Verano and Chevrolet's new small car are available at this time.
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 208,000 people in every major region of the world and does business in more than 120 countries. GM and its strategic partners produce cars and trucks in 31 countries, and sell and service these vehicles through the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, FAW, GMC, Daewoo, Holden, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling. GM's largest national market is China, followed by the United States, Brazil, Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Italy. 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.