Allison Transmission, a division of General Motors, will open a new manufacturing plant for its popular 1000 Series heavy-duty transmissions. The plant likely will be near Baltimore.
GM will invest at least $250 million in the new Allison plant, which will employ about 400 hourly and 70 management workers, said Allison spokeswoman Pat Trice.
GM already operates the Baltimore Assembly Plant, making GMC Safari and Chevrolet Astro minivans. In March, GM will trim about 200 from the factory's work force of 2,500, GM spokesman Gerry Holmes said.
Building the Allison plant in the same area does not indicate GM has decided to close the minivan plant, Holmes said. But it would put the Allison factory near a large pool of UAW workers who face an uncertain future with GM.
GM has remained tight-lipped about the minivan plant's fate after 2000. Holmes said the plant's future depends on demand for the vans, which has declined in recent years.
The 1000 Series transmissions are in great demand among manufacturers of step vans, light- and heavy-duty trucks, buses and RVs.
Demand forecasts for the 1000 Series, which includes three models, are for 200,000 units per year. Allison's transmission plant in Indianapolis has capacity of about 100,000, Trice said. The new plant will turn out 100,000 per year after startup, sometime in early 2001, Trice said.