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GM to invest in 3 plants to expand production of fuel-efficient engine


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GM to invest in 3 plants to expand production of fuel-efficient engine


Free Press Business Writer

General Motors is expected to announce today an investment of more than $160 million at plants in Flint, Bay City and Defiance, Ohio, tied to expanded production of its fuel-efficient 1.4-liter Ecotec four-cylinder engine.

Most of the investment to be outlined will go into the Flint South engine plant, where production will be increased to 1,200 engines a day early next year, up 50% from previously announced plans, according to a UAW official familiar with the plan.

The investment will preserve about 105 jobs in Flint, about eight in Bay City and an unspecified number in Defiance, where GM produces cylinder blocks and crankshafts for the Ecotec engine, a person with knowledge of the planning said.

The 1.4-liter engine is the standard engine in the Chevrolet Cruze, and a turbocharged version of the engine recently went into production that can achieve 40 m.p.g. in highway driving.

The Ecotec engine is also mated with the battery pack that powers the Chevrolet Volt. GM also plans to use it in the redesigned Chevrolet Aveo, scheduled to launch next year at the automaker's Orion Township assembly plant.

The investment announcement comes as GM tries to keep excitement alive about its relaunch as a publicly traded company.

General Motors shares fell to $33.25 Tuesday, just 25 cents above their initial offering price last Thursday. The market suffered broadly as investors fretted about the artillery exchange between North Korea and South Korea and ongoing concerns over spreading European debt problems.

In all, trading of GM shares slowed Tuesday, as slightly less than 31 million shares changed hands.

Separately, billionaire Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal disclosed Tuesday that he bought about 1% percent of GM's common shares for $500 million because of his confidence that GM will continue growing, especially in China and Brazil.

Prince Alwaleed, the world's 19th-richest person, joins GM partner SAIC as the second investor to buy 1% of the automaker.

Alwaleed's Kingdom Holdings has significant stakes in Citicorp, News Corp., Disney, Time Warner, Saks Fifth Avenue and Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.

Read more: GM to invest in 3 plants to expand production of fuel-efficient engine | freep.com | Detroit Free Press http://www.freep.com/article/20101124/BUSINESS01/11240418/GM-to-invest-in-3-plants-to-expand-production-of-fuel-efficient-engine#ixzz16Cvz1Y3e

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GM to invest $163 million in three plants

by Zach Bowman (RSS feed) on Nov 24th 2010 at 5:58PM

General Motors is investing $163.2 million three plants as it prepares to ramp up engine production for the Chevrolet Volt, Cruze and a new small Chevrolet. The company's Flint Engine Operations will take home the lion's share of the money, with $138.3 million going to help boost production of the Ecotec turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine used in each of the company's fuel-thrifty cars. Meanwhile, The General's Bay City Components plant will receive $12.7 million and Defiance Castings in Defiance, Ohio will see $12.2 million. All told, GM says that the money will protect 184 jobs across the three manufacturing sites.

At the beginning of 2011, the Flint plant will be responsible for producing around 400 engines per day, though GM wants to increase that number to 800 by the end of next year. The Bay City plant is set to increase production of both connecting rods and cam shafts while the Defiance facility will increase its output of crank shafts and engine blocks. Hit the jump for the full press release.

[source: General Motors]

Show full PR text

GM to Invest $163 Million, Retain 184 Jobs in Three Plants


* Flint and Bay City, Michigan, and Defiance, Ohio Get Additional Work

* GM U.S. Investments Top $3.3 Billion; 8,000 Jobs During Recovery

* Supports Additional Engine Production for Chevrolet Volt, Cruze and Future Small Chevy

DETROIT – General Motors today announced a $163.2-million investment in its operations in Flint and Bay City, Michigan, and Defiance, Ohio, to support engine production for the Chevrolet Volt, Chevrolet Cruze and a new Chevrolet small car to be built in the United States. The investment will protect 184 jobs at the three sites.

"This investment is essential in ensuring we can meet the expected high demand for the Chevrolet Volt, Chevrolet Cruze and a small car that will be produced at our Orion Township facility," said Kathleen Dilworth, Flint Engine Operations plant manager. "These three facilities will continue to play a key role in GM's resurgence and efforts to bring to market vehicles with segment-leading fuel economy."

The announcement brings the total of new U.S. investment to more than $3.3 billion, and GM has created or retained more than 8,000 jobs in 21 U.S. plants since emerging from bankruptcy in July 2009.

The investments include:

* Flint Engine Operations: $138.3 million and 135 jobs

* Bay City components: $12.7 million and eight jobs

* Defiance castings: $12.2 million and 41 jobs

The investments will be used to support increased production of the Ecotec 1.4-liter engine that is used in the Chevrolet Cruze and a 1.4L variant used in the Chevrolet Volt. Flint Engine is expected to start production of 400 engines a day in early 2011 and ramp up to 800 engines a day in late 2011. The newest investment increases its capacity to 1,200 a day in late 2012.

Bay City will increase connecting rod and camshaft production and Defiance will boost output of engine block and crankshaft castings.

In less than two years, GM has invested nearly $700 million and protected more than 600 jobs at the three facilities.

"The UAW has and will continue to play a key role in GM's revival," said Terry Everman, UAW Local 599 chairman. "Our members have demonstrated that they are more than capable of building the latest and greatest in technology that will power some of the most fuel-efficient vehicles in the market."

The Ecotec 1.4L turbocharged engine for the Chevrolet Cruze is like two engines in one with the fuel economy of a small displacement engine and the performance of a larger engine. The 1.4L engine helps the Cruze Eco achieve a segment-leading EPA-estimated 42 highway mpg.

The 1.4L naturally aspirated engine enables range extension for the Chevrolet Volt. After the battery is depleted the on-board engine-generator creates additional electricity to power the car for hundreds of additional miles of extended range.



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