Preparations made for new 10-speed transmission

GM to invest $1.3 billion in 5 assembly, powertrain plants

Preparations made for new 10-speed transmission

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DETROIT -- General Motors plans to invest $1.3 billion upgrading two Michigan assembly plants and three powertrain plants, including retooling for a new 10-speed transmission.

GM said today the investment would create or retain 1,000 jobs, without saying how many of the jobs would be new. About 7,500 people work in the plants today.

“GM is committed to a strong American manufacturing base and creating jobs in dozens of communities throughout the country,” Mark Reuss, GM’s president of North America, said in a statement. “Today’s announced plant upgrades continue the momentum of a resurgent auto industry. More importantly, these investments add up to higher quality and more fuel-efficient vehicles for our customers.”

GM said it would reveal details about the 10-speed transmission, which will help achieve improved fuel economy and performance in future vehicles, at a later date. It made a deal in April with Ford Motor Co. to jointly develop nine- and 10-speed transmissions.

Today’s announcement calls for spending $600 million on a new paint shop and other upgrades at Flint Assembly, which builds light-duty and heavy-duty pickups, and $121 million on a logistics optimization center at Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly, which builds the Chevrolet Impala, Malibu and Volt.

GM also said it plans to spend $493.4 million at its powertrain plant in Romulus, Mich., on equipment to make a new 10-speed transmission and to increase capacity of a previously announced V-6 engine. That investment is in addition to a recently begun $390 million retooling project at the plant that has put about 500 workers on layoff through 2015.

Toledo Transmission Operations in Ohio will receive $30.6 million to increase capacity for a six-speed transmission and tooling for a new variant, while Bedford Castings in Indiana will get $29.2 million to make components for the 10-speed and six-speed transmissions.

Joe Ashton, the UAW vice president who heads its GM department, called the investment “a win for American workers.”

“The UAW is proud to be a part of this successful collaboration with GM that has helped rebuild the nation’s economy, created good paying, union jobs in communities across the country, and brought manufacturing that was moved overseas back to the U.S.,” Ashton was quoted as saying in GM’s statement. “This is further proof that collective bargaining works.”

GM said it has announced investments of $10.1 billion in its U.S. operations since 2009, including $2.8 billion this year. It attributes a total of 26,500 created or retained jobs to the projects.

You can reach Nick Bunkley at nbunkley@crain.com. -- Follow Nick on Twitter


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