This week, General Motors announced it would shift production of the Cadillac SRX crossover from the Mexican factory that currently builds the model to the Spring Hill, Tennessee, US manufacturing facility.
While in its term the move is against the current – almost all major automakers looking to establish a North American manufacturing base are going to Mexico, not fleeing – this time we’ll deal with the consequences on US soil.
The Spring Hill factory has its own tumultuous, interesting history to talk about: back when then GM Chairman Roger Smith created the Saturn brand, he also triggered the construction of the Tennessee complex. The plant was envisioned as part of the future of the US auto industry, but as General Motors emerged in 2009 from bankruptcy and Saturn was axed the facility was almost closed – just like many other GM production sites.
Fortunately, the flexibility of the plant, which for starters allowed GM to produce a family of small cars in the US, proved to be an asset for the complex. Officials decided it was time for a rebirth, so the assembly lines started to produce the Chevrolet Equinox model and GM initially invested $350 million for two midsize models. The latest investment – of $233 million – for the Cadillac SRX’s relocation, now comes on top of that.
More so, the powertrain unit of the Tennessee complex has been also designated to build a key new line of small gasoline engines, from the Ecotec engine family. There will be no less than 11 separate iterations of 3- and 4-cylinder powertrains, with displacements from 1.0 to 1.5-liters, and producing 75 to 165 HP.