Editor's note: An earlier version of this story misstated Rep. Debbie Dingell's party affiliation. She is a Democrat.
General Motors plans to invest more than $1 billion to retool its Ramos Arizpe, Mexico, plant for electric vehicle production, making Ramos GM's fifth EV facility in North America, GM Mexico said Thursday.
GM plans to begin building EVs at the plant in 2023 and make batteries and electrical components for drive units starting in the second half of this year, GM Mexico said in a statement.
Ramos will join Orion Assembly and Factory Zero in Michigan, CAMI in Ingersoll, Ontario, and Spring Hill Assembly in Tennessee as GM's EV plants.
The plant will continue to build the Chevrolet Equinox and Blazer, in addition to new EVs.
The renovations also include a new paint shop, which will begin operations in June.
"I'm sure this investment will contribute to continue boosting Mexican manufacturing while bringing development to the region, the industry and the country," said Francisco Garza, president of GM's Mexican unit, during a webcast announcement.
The UAW was outraged at GM's plans.
"At a time when General Motors is asking for a significant investment by the U.S. government in subsidizing electric vehicles, this is a slap in the face for not only UAW members and their families but also for U.S. taxpayers and the American workforce," Terry Dittes, the director of the UAW's GM department, said in a statement.
"General Motors automobiles made in Mexico are sold in the United States and should be made right here, employing American workers. That is why our nation is investing in these companies. Taxpayer money should not go to companies that utilize labor outside the U.S. while benefiting from American government subsidies. This is not the America any of us signed on for. Frankly, it is unseemly."
U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., a former GM executive, also criticized the decision.
“Electric vehicles must be built here in America by the finest workforce in the world – the American worker," Dingell said in a statement Thursday. "Not one American dollar should support our own jobs being shipped off to Mexico – especially when we have the workers and the technology to manufacture the best vehicles of the future here at home. General Motors needs to reaffirm their commitment to working, American families."
Garza said he could not rule out adding a third production shift to the Ramos Arizpe facility in the near term, which would depend on meeting certain economic conditions.
AutoForecast Solutions told Automotive News in October that Ramos would likely build two EVs by 2024.
Automotive News also reported in January that GM would build a Honda-branded EV at Ramos starting in 2023.
Reuters and Laurence Iliff and Audrey LaForest of Automotive News contributed to this report.