General Motors will begin updating its Wentzville, Mo., assembly plant next week as part of a $1.5 billion investment included in its labor contract with the UAW.
The plant will receive a $1 billion upgrade for the company's next-generation midsize pickups, GM said Friday. The investment will allow the plant to retain about 4,000 jobs. Half of the workers will build the pickups, while the other half will continue building full-size vans, spokesman Dan Flores said.
The plant's paint shop, body shop and general assembly will be updated with new machines, conveyors, controls and tooling, GM said in a statement. Construction will last several months.
Workers will have a few weeks of downtime added to the holidays as retooling begins, Flores said, but the plant will run regular production during most of the retooling process.
"This is part of our comprehensive strategy to invest in growth areas and strengthen our U.S. manufacturing base," Mark Reuss, GM president, said in the statement. "GM sells more pickups than any other automaker, and we have aggressive plans to build on our strengths."
The investment was outlined in the contract with GM that UAW-represented workers ratified in October.
The Wentzville investment is part of $7.7 billion pledged by GM in the agreement to create or retain about 9,000 jobs through 2023.
The 5.1 million-square-foot plant outside St. Louis operates on three shifts with about 4,000 hourly workers. It builds the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon pickups and the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana vans. The plant opened in 1983.