GM spending $230m on Cruze and Volt plants image

General Motors last night said it was spending over $230m on four of plants in the greater Flint, Michigan, area to “support” production of the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze and Volt, “representing” over 500 jobs.

“These four GM manufacturing plants have a key role in GM’s production of the next generation of fuel-efficient vehicles, the Chevrolet Volt and Cruze,” said Larry Zahner, GM manufacturing manager. “The men and women at these plants are working hard to exceed their quality and cost objectives while maintaining a relentless focus on safety and improved efficiency.”

The four manufacturing plants have also made significant progress in reducing their impact on the environment. The plants recycle more than 97 percent of the waste they generate. Materials recycled during the last year include 12 tons of batteries, 47,000 tons of scrap metal, 616 tons of oil, 229 tons of wood and 74 tons of plastic paper.

Key activities performed by the four plants include development of automated equipment and tooling for the Chevy Cruze and Volt assembly plants, die development and stamping of body panels and other components and the manufacturing and assembly of key powertrain components including the 1.4L four-cylinder engine generator for the Volt and the 1.4L four-cylinder turbo engine for the Cruze.

* Flint Engine South: General Motors Company is investing $202 million in Flint Engine South to renovate the former I5/I6 manufacturing operations for production of a 1.4L four-cylinder engine generator for the Chevrolet Volt and a 1.4L four-cylinder turbo engine for the Cruze. The project represents approximately 240 employees.

* Flint Metal Center: General Motors Company is investing $1.7 million in Flint Metal Center to refurbish press lines that will produce sheet metal stampings for the Volt, representing 30 jobs.

* Flint Tool and Die: This facility designed dies for the Chevrolet Cruze and is responsible for the construction and tryout of stamping die sets for the Volt program. All dies for the Chevy Volt were engineered at Flint Tool & Die. Approximately 50 percent of dies for the Volt were designed at this facility.

* Grand Blanc Weld Tool Center: General Motors Company is investing approximately $30 million in this facility to build the robotic weld tool cells that will assemble the Volt body at the Volt assembly plant. Approximately 250 employees are working on this project, including 60 who are installing the weld tool equipment at the assembly plant. Grand Blanc Weld Tool Center also built the robotic weld tool cells for the body shop to assemble the Chevrolet Cruze at Lordstown (Ohio) Assembly.

The fuel-efficient Chevrolet Cruze, which is scheduled to launch next spring, is Chevy’s all-new global compact car. The Cruze will be powered by a 1.4L four-cylinder turbo engine and is expected to deliver better fuel economy than the current leader in the segment, the Chevrolet Cobalt XFE, rated at 37 mpg highway.

The Chevrolet Volt, which is scheduled to start production in late 2010 as a 2011 model, will be GM’s first extended-range electric vehicle. The Volt can travel up to 40 miles on electricity from a single battery charge and can extend its overall range to more than 300 miles with its flex fuel-powered 1.4L engine-generator, which will be produced at Flint Engine South.