US: GM to lift workforce at Orion plant as it adds Bolt and another model image

General Motors, the largest US automaker and the third biggest in the world, has announced it plans to invest $245 million and in the future add 300 workers to the Orion Township assembly plant.

The investment comes in a dire moment for the assembly facility, with the automaker earlier this month saying it was going to lower production and send off around 100 workers before the year ends. The upcoming spending comes in the near term though, as the company is preparing the factory for the upcoming production of an unnamed model that is yet to be identified. “Orion Assembly is a breeding ground for manufacturing innovation,” commented Cathy Clegg, vice president of GM North America manufacturing and labor relations, in a statement. “It serves as a model for how to engage the entire workforce at all levels to achieve success.” At the facility there are currently around 1,580 hourly and 180 salaried employees that build the Chevrolet Sonic and Buick Verano small cars. The two compact sedans deliveries have been recently impacted by the low gasoline prices that have made Americans prefer larger models.

According to Clegg, the $245-million investment would be focused on the body shop, where robots are precisely programmed to weld the basic architecture of each vehicle. Eventually, the “all new vehicle program” would transform into 300 new work positions. Orion will start manufacturing of its next model – the all-electric Bolt vehicle – sometime in 2017 and in a few years time the automaker would also add the yet to be identified new model.