Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Newbiewar

GM taps Detroit/Hamtramck plant to build its electric car

4 posts in this topic

GM taps Detroit/Hamtramck plant to build its electric car

Sep 29, 2007 (Detroit Free Press - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- If General Motors Corp. manufactures the Chevrolet Volt, the automaker will build the extended-range electric vehicle in its Detroit/Hamtramck Assembly plant, the UAW said Friday in its summary of the tentative agreement.

The deal includes a plan to assemble the Volt starting in 2010 at the facility, known as the Poletown plant because of the area's ties to the Polish American community.

The Volt announcement, coupled with other commitments for the plant that are to begin as early as 2009, seems to move GM's hometown assembly plant from the endangered species list to one with a potentially electric future. Detroit/Hamtramck Assembly opened in 1985 with hopes it would revitalize the local economy and become a model for modern manufacturing, but its future often has looked uncertain.

Greg Kelly, 50, of Detroit, who has worked for GM for 29 years, could not believe the news. There had been a lot of talk about the plant going to one shift in January -- even shutting down -- he said.

"I think it's a great move for the people," he said. "You can look at some kind of future."

Kelly, a team coordinator, said it was especially good news for the younger workers. He then paused and chuckled. "What kind of car did you say that was again?" he asked.

But Paul Radatz, 44, of Fraser, an electrician at the plant, had mixed feelings about the new vehicle.

"That's good they finally got a product lined up for us," he said. "I just hope it sells."

He prefers Cadillac and Buick Lucerne, luxury vehicles. "Those seem to have more steady sales," he said.

But overall, he said of the news, "I'm glad."

The commitment to build the Volt in Detroit links together in one contract two of GM's most critical gambles in trying to stay competitive with rival Toyota Motor Corp. The new contract has health care and wage provisions intended to bring down GM's labor costs closer to those of Toyota.

The plan to build the Volt is part of a much-publicized race to leapfrog Toyota as the world's leader of green-car technology. Toyota has become a leader in environmentally friendly vehicles, thanks in large part to the Prius, the top-selling gas-electric hybrid in the world.

GM unveiled the Volt, which could provide a new level of fuel economy, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January.

With the right batteries, GM says, the Volt could travel 40 miles -- equal to the average American's daily commute -- without a drop of gas. For those who drive farther, the Volt aims to use a three-cylinder gasoline engine to recharge the battery, so the vehicle could drive 640 miles on a 12-gallon tank without having to stop to refuel or recharge, averaging more than 50 miles per gallon.

The vehicle is dependent on contractors developing a power source that is safe, durable and affordable enough for use in a vehicle, but GM executives are growing increasingly confident that it will happen in a time frame that will enable them to build the Volt by 2010.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wonder if the placement of this vehicle is a PR thing...

IF Hybrids, Electric plug in cars, the worlds least dependant vehicle on protrolium, is built in detroit... where the big 3 are...

does anyone else see that as the reason it is going to be built in the heart of motor city?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wonder if the placement of this vehicle is a PR thing...

IF Hybrids, Electric plug in cars, the worlds least dependant vehicle on protrolium, is built in detroit... where the big 3 are...

does anyone else see that as the reason it is going to be built in the heart of motor city?

I agree with that, I think that's probably one of the only reasons they're building it in Detroit rather than elsewhere.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, here are a couple other thoughts:

1. They can keep a close eye on it - it's a quick drive for your top execs to address any issues that pop up.

2. It will get more automotive press coverage - given that GM has already been spilling as many beans about this as they can, I'd expect a boat load of fanfare to surround every step through its lifecycle including test drives, plant tours, trim level intros, woodward drives, etc. and all of the Detroit press will be invited...and will attend.

3. GM did this to please the UAW. What better way to say "we need you" or "you're still relevant" than to trust a UAW-run Hamtramck with the single most important vehicle launch the company will have in the next 10, maybe 20 years?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

Guest
You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
Reply to this topic...

×   You have pasted content with formatting.   Remove formatting

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0