GM’s New $349M Michigan Plant Joins Roster of Planned Car Manufacturing Facilities

Undeterred by the overall decline in the auto industry, General Motors has announced plans to develop a 552,000-square-foot plant in Flint, Mich. where it will manufacture engines for its Chevrolet Volt line of fuel efficient vehicles. GM will shell out $349 million to construct the facility and another $21 million for vendor tooling to back facility operations. The new plant will sit about an hour from GM’s Detroit-based global headquarters, which the company acquired from its landlord for $626 million in May. GM considered building the Volt plant at other locations around the country, but overseas sites were not among the options. The list of other potential sites is being kept confidential, but GM settled on Flint for a few reasons, including the city’s competitive business climate and the company’s longtime partnerships with local government. Additionally, a GM spokesperson told CPN, “there is an outstanding workforce in Flint already and it is always rated top in efficiency reports, so we like to leverage that and keep the jobs there.” The new facility will occupy a GM-owned parcel that was once home to a company engine plant before it was demolished years ago. “Building here allows us to bring a new plant to what is a brownfield site,” the spokesperson said. The entire development endeavor centers on environmental efficiency. The building will be designed to achieve LEED certification, and it will be landfill free. “No waste generated at the facility will go to landfills; it will be converted to energy.” Presently GM has 43 manufacturing operations around the world that are landfill free, and the company plans to increase that number to more than 80 by the close of 2010. Construction of the Flint plant is to commence immediately and is on schedule to conclude in 2010. Despite the auto industry’s downturn, GM is not alone in its manufacturing expansion efforts. Work got underway earlier this month on a $100 million factory in Franklin, Ky., where electric cars will be manufactured for fuel-efficient advanced technology vehicle company ZAP. In July, Volkswagen Group of America Inc. announced it had selected Chattanooga, Tenn., as the site for its new $1 billion manufacturing plant.