General Motors to reopen Tennessee plant image

General Motors will reopen the Saturn plant in Spring Hill, Tenn., next year to build any of the company’s cars whenever extra production is needed.

The Detroit based automaker said on Monday that will invest $61 million and will create 594 hourly jobs and 91 salaried positions for the flexible operation scheduled to begin with the hot-selling Chevrolet Equinox in the second half of 2012.

Despite adding shifts and overtime, the automaker has problems to meet demand for the new Chevrolet Equinox that is very popular — U.S. sales were up 18 percent in October – that GM has increased production three times since it went into production in 2009.

“This won’t be a typical plant,” Clegg said, speaking Monday in Spring Hill.

The flexibility to build a range of models without having to spend a lot of downtime to retool will allow GM customers to get top-selling cars without waiting.

For some former Spring Hill workers, the restart represents a chance to come home, after GM has closed the factory 2 year ago, and relocated 500 workers to Michigan.

GM will be able to hire new workers as early as mid-December, when the company will have placed all laid-off workers, labor chief Cathy Clegg said Monday.