General Motors is celebrating a significant milestone, recently surpassing 500 million vehicles produced in its century-long history.
The company claims the half billion GM-branded vehicles represent the most produced by any automaker “by far,” generating many billions of dollars in associated commerce, payroll, investments and infrastructure spread across the globe.
The company built its 100-millionth vehicle approximately 50 years ago. It then took just 14 years to hit 200 million, and the latest 100 million vehicles were built in the past 12 years.
GM chief executive Mary Barra and Chevrolet global brand chief Alan Batey celebrated the achievement by awarding a 2016 Chevy Malibu ‘key’ to wounded Iraq War veteran Trent Brining, ahead of the model’s official start of production at the Fairfax Assembly plant in Kansas.
Brining, a Purple Heart recipient and Kansas resident who has undergone 23 surgeries to repair injuries caused by a rocket-propelled grenade in 2005, will be one of five customers who will receive a new regionally-built GM-branded vehicle. The additional announcements will all be made soon.
“During 2015, we expect to sell more than 1,000 new vehicles per hour, 24 hours per day,” said Barra. “This adds up to nearly 10 million vehicles, the most in our history. I look at this extraordinary volume as 10 million opportunities to prove what kind of company we are and to say thank you.”
GM will thank its employees by offering all workers and retirees a one-time customer-appreciation discount.
The company recently detailed a $5.4 billion investment plan to expand, retool and modernize US factories through 2018. Today’s celebration includes a new announcement of $174 million that will be spent at the Fairfax plant.