General Motors is investing a chunk of change into two of its North American plants – most of it going to a new high-efficiency engine program at its plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee.
The automaker will invest $788.7 million in Tennessee to upgrade Spring Hill and create 792 new jobs. The upgrades include a $148 million investment for a new high-efficiency engine program. GM says it will equip the plant to make small block V8 engines. GM isn’t saying what models will get the engine. It does say that it will finish this leg of the project by the end of this year. Construction begins in May and will take several years.
Another $118 million will go towards the Bay City Powertrain plant in Michigan, which will support the engine project in Tennessee.
The Spring Hill plant opened back in 1990 and built Saturn vehicles – remember those? – until 2009. Since then, it’s built models like the Chevrolet Traverse and Equinox. Now the plant uses a flexible vehicle assembly system and to make the Cadillac XT5 and GMC Acadia. The engine part of the plant currently makes 4-cylinder engines.
These investments are all part of the UAW and GM contract. Under the deal, GM must invest $1.9 billion in its U.S. plants in four years, as well as create or retain at least 3,300 jobs. Currently, the Spring Hill plant employs 2,600 and the Bay City plant employs 294.
Fun fact: The Bay City plant has been around so long that it actually used to operate as a bicycle plant. It opened in 1892 under the National Cycle Manufacturing Company and made modern bikes to replace those weird old fashioned high wheel bikes. William Durant and Louis Chevrolet bought it in 1916 and added it to GM two years later.