DETROIT -- General Motors is adding a second shift -- about 1,200 workers -- at its Detroit-Hamtramck plant to meet future demand for the five vehicles made there, including the redesigned 2016 Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid that rolls out in coming weeks.
The plant also is scheduled to begin production in early 2016 of the Cadillac CT6, a large, lightweight sedan that will be the first vehicle made by GM using a special technique that spot welds aluminum to steel.
Detroit-Hamtramck also serves as a secondary production site for the Chevy Malibu and Impala sedans, and it assembles the low-volume Cadillac ELR plug-in, a sibling of the Volt.
GM said hiring already has begun and that it would put on the second shift in early 2016. The facility will employ about 2,800 hourly and salaried workers once the hiring is done, the company said.
“This is the result of the award-winning vehicles Detroit-Hamtramck produces and the confidence GM has in our team to build world-class quality for our customers,” plant manager Gary West said in a statement today.
GM retooled Detroit-Hamtramck earlier this year for the next-generation Volt. Some industry forecasters predict that production of the redesigned Buick LaCrosse sedan could move to the plant, from GM’s Fairfax Assembly plant in Kansas City, Kansas, when it goes on sale in the second half of 2016.
The 30-year-old, 4.1 million-square-foot facility is one of GM’s most flexible assembly plants (GM CEO Mary Barra was the plant manager there in 2003 and 2004). The company has invested about $1 billion into the factory over the last five years, installing equipment that enables workers to produce five cars built on three separate platforms.
Still, the facility has been used relatively sparingly in recent years amid slower-than-expected Volt demand. It’s operated on one shift for years, and on many occasions has been idled for weeks at a time to allow demand to catch up with supply.
An estimated 48,400 vehicles were produced at Detroit-Hamtramck over the first nine months of the year, the Automotive News Data Center estimates. GM’s similarly sized Fairfax plant in Kansas assembled an estimated 140,000.
Malibu and Impala production at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant is relatively limited. Only about 10,700 Malibus were made there this year through September, vs. nearly 120,000 at Fairfax, the data center estimates. About 27,000 Impalas were assembled there, vs. about 76,000 at GM’s Oshawa, Ontario, plant.
Previous plans to add a second shift at Detroit-Hamtramck were announced in May 2011 but never materialized. At the time, GM envisioned annual production of 60,000 Volts annually. But GM put off those plans by the end of that year amid tepid demand. U.S. Volt sales peaked at 23,461 in 2012.