GM spending $1B for upgrades at Flint truck plant, metal center


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Aug 02, 2023

GM spending $1B for upgrades at Flint truck plant, metal center

(This story has been updated with additional comments from General Motors’

(This story has been updated with additional comments from General Motors’ announcement on Monday, June 5.)

FLINT, MI -- General Motors will invest more than $1 billion in its Flint Assembly plant and Flint Metal Center to prepare those sites for producing next-generation, gas-powered heavy-duty trucks.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and representatives of GM and United Auto Workers made the investment announcement on Monday, June 5, at Flint Assembly, GM's longest-running assembly plant in North America, which is targeted for $788 million in upgrades.

"Thanks to investments like today's and so many other projects we have competed for and won here in Michigan the last few years, we will continue to be the home of the auto industry's electrified, high-tech future for generations to come as well as building the ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles that hard-working people depend on every day," Whitmer told workers and dignitaries Monday morning.

GM did not immediately announce additional jobs tied to the planned upgrades but said they reflect a commitment to the city and its existing workforce.

"This investment in our future is a direct result of a lot of hard work by (UAW) Local 598 members," Local 598 Chairman Eric Welter said. "Their diligence to quality and efficiency has created their own job security.

Monday's two-plant announcement comes just six months after GM announced it would also spend $579 million to bring V-8 engine manufacturing back to Flint Engine Operations.

At Flint Assembly, GM said it will invest $788 million to update the 1947 plant, expanding its body shop and general assembly conveyor and purchasing new tooling and equipment.

At the Metal Center, the company plans to spend $233 million for new stamping dies, press refurbishments and other new equipment to support the future production of gas-powered trucks.

The Metal Center opened in 1954 and produces sheet metal stampings for GM's heavy-duty and light-duty trucks, full-size SUVs, and crossovers.

"Today we are announcing significant investments in Flint to strengthen our industry-leading full-size pickup business by preparing two plants to build the next-generation ICE HD trucks," Gerald Johnson, GM's executive vice president of global manufacturing and sustainability, said in advance of Monday's announcement. "These investments reflect our commitment to our loyal truck customers and the efforts of the dedicated employees of Flint Assembly and Flint Metal Center."

GM was founded in Flint in 1908 and thrived for decades, employing more than 82,000 workers at its peak in 1955.

Both U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee and Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley recalled their own family members having traveled here to settle their families because of the promise of good-paying auto jobs.

Today, more than 8,200 employees work at six area facilities -- Flint Assembly, Flint Metal Center, Flint Engine Operations, the North American Engineering and Tooling Center, and Customer Care and Aftersales in Burton and Swartz Creek.

Although there have been massive cuts in GM employment here, the company has increased its hiring during the last 15 years, adding more than 1,000 jobs to its payroll.

"Some said we were down and out," Neeley said. "They said that about GM. They said that about Flint. But what truly defines us is how we rise."

Monday's announcement keeps Flint in the business of producing ICE vehicles, but despite GM's commitment to an electrified future, Johnson and others that production is in demand for the foreseeable future.

While the company has said its goal is for its cars, SUVs and light-duty trucks to be fully electric by 2035, it needs gas engines for at least another decade, particularly for its popular and highly profitable line of trucks.

Even after 2035, the company expects to continue production of gas-powered heavy-duty trucks, Johnson said Monday.

"We talk a lot about (electric vehicles) and they are a real part of our future (but) maybe we don't talk enough about the reality that internal combustion engines and the vehicles that they go into are very important to our customers and very important to our future," Johnson said.

In 2022, GM achieved a 38% year-over-year increase in HD pickup sales with nearly 288,000 trucks sold. Its 2023 Flint-built Chevrolet Silverado HD was the best-selling retail full-size HD pickup.

Product details and timing related to GM's future HD trucks were not immediately announced Monday by the company, which has spent more than $30.5 billion on its U.S. manufacturing and parts distribution facilities since 2013.

UAW Vice President Mike Booth said Monday's announcement reflects the strength and performance of Flint-area GM workers, including the more than 5,000 hourly and salaried employees at Flint Assembly.

"When business is booming as it has been for the past decade -- due to the hard work of UAW members -- the company should continue to invest in its workforce," Booth said in a statement released by the company.

Read more at The Flint Journal:

GM to invest $579M in Flint, $216M in Bay City for next-generation V-8 engine

Genesee County task force will push to expand access to high-speed broadband

Road Commission setting up 4-month detour as work starts on Grand Blanc Road

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