GM to invest $200 million at its powertrain headquarters
DETROIT -- General Motors is investing $200 million in its global powertrain center in Pontiac, Mich., part of a plan to consolidate work done elsewhere and accelerate development of new engine technologies.
GM said Wednesday it will build a 138,000 square-foot expansion at the 450,000 square-foot center, which the company says is one of the world's largest powertrain development facilities. It is part of $1.5 billion in planned investments in GM's North American facilities this year.
As part of the plan, GM said it will terminate leases at three other development facilities once it shifts work from those centers to Pontiac. They include facilities in Wixom, Mich., where GM engineers develop electric motors and performance engines; Torrance, Calif., where work on power electronics is done; and Castleton, Ind., where engineers develop heavy-duty transmissions and hybrid and battery electric drive units.
GM also will move about 100 employees at a propulsion-technology research lab to Pontiac from GM's main technical center in Warren, Mich.
Sam Winegarden, GM's vice president of global engine engineering, said the consolidation will streamline powertrain development and make it easier for engineers to do their jobs. He said the moves weren't aimed at cutting costs.
"You'll get all the skill sets co-located in one place to help us do the development more efficiently and faster," Winegarden told reporters during a briefing at the Pontiac center. "The ability to walk down the hall and see the r&d guys is pretty cool."
Winegarten said toughening fuel efficiency standards will require GM to "turn over most of our engine and transmission portfolio within the next several years to meet that challenge. Having everybody here to do that very effectively and quickly is key."
GM also plans to move an operation that builds performance engines from the Wixom facility to GM's plant in Bowling Green, Ky., where it assembles the Chevrolet Corvette.
Construction on the Pontiac campus is set to begin next month and should be completed sometime in the second half of 2014, Winegarden said.
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