GM announces $24 million investment in Fort Wayne Assembly plant
By Doug LeDuc | KPC Media - The Star
Success with the redesign of the full-size pickups made locally has prompted General Motors Co. to invest an additional $24 million in its Fort Wayne Assembly plant for a new round of upgrades aimed at increasing its production capacity.
The plant employs about 4,500 workers on three shifts making full-size, light-duty double-cab and crew-cab Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups. Its permanent hourly workers are represented by United Auto Workers Local 2209.
“We are building Chevrolet and GMC crew-cab pickups at record volume and mix levels to meet customer demand, and the $24 million investment will allow us to build even more,” Mary Barra, GM’s chair and CEO, said.
The company invested nearly $1.2 billion to prepare the facility near the intersection of U.S. 24 and Interstate 69 at Roanoke for production of the next-generation trucks. They also are built at GM plants in Flint, Michigan, and Silao, Mexico.
The first light-duty 2019 Silverados and Sierras began arriving in dealerships last August, and the company’s earnings report released April 30 said the launch was proceeding ahead of plan during the first quarter.
With a smooth production ramp-up for the new trucks, GM sold 75,000 of them during the fourth quarter.
Combined sales of the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 crew-cab pickups were up 20 percent in the first quarter compared with the same period last year.
Customer deliveries of the double-cab models built in Fort Wayne began during the first quarter, according to plan. GM is projecting another significant increase in sales of the redesigned pickups for the second quarter.
The additional $24 million invested to increase production capacity of the Fort Wayne Assembly Plant will improve its conveyors and other tooling, the statement said. The company expects the work to be completed this summer.
With the additional improvements, GM will have invested more than $1.2 billion in the plant since 2015, it said.
So far this year, the company has announced plans to create more than 2,000 jobs to help it meet growing demand for trucks, sport-utility vehicles and crossovers, and to expand its portfolio of battery-electric vehicles.
Since 2009, the company has invested $23 billion in U.S. manufacturing — more than one out of every four dollars spent by automakers.
The Fort Wayne Assembly Plant began building light-duty, full-size trucks in 1986. In addition to Fort Wayne, GM has facilities in Bedford, Kokomo and Marion. The company’s total employment in Indiana exceeds 6,900.
Indiana is home to more than 400 GM suppliers and the company spends more than $1 billion with them each year.
The company also has 127 independently-owned dealerships across Indiana, which employ about 13,700.
And GM said it has close to 42,000 retirees who call Indiana home.