Shared from the 1/28/2020 The Denver Post eEdition
By Tom Krisher
The Associated Press
DETROIT» General Motors is spending $2.2 billion to refurbish an underused Detroit factory so it can build a series of electric and self-driving vehicles, eventually employing 2,200 people.
GM said in a statement Monday that the factory will start building the company’s first electric pickup late in 2021, followed by a funky-looking self-driving shuttle for GM’s Cruise autonomous vehicle unit.
The truck will be the first of several electric vehicles to be built at the plant, which straddles the border between Detroit and the enclave of Hamtramck. The company has plans to revive the Hummer nameplate for one of the vehicles.
In November of 2018, GM announced plans to close the factory along with three others in the U.S. But the company promised to reopen Detroit-Hamtramck to build electric vehicles during last fall’s contentious contract negotiations with the United Auto Workers union.
At that time the plant employed about 1,500 hourly and salaried workers. Currently the plant is working on one shift with about 900 workers making the Cadillac CT6 and Chevrolet Impala sedans.
The factory will be shut down at the end of February, when renovations are expected to begin. The general assembly area as well as the paint and body shops will get major upgrades including new machinery, conveyors and controls, GM said in a statement.
GM will also invest $800 million in equipment for parts suppliers and other projects related to the new electric trucks.
The factory will be GM’s first assembly plant to be fully dedicated to building electric vehicles.
The announcement came days after Michigan’s economic-development arm, the Michigan Strategic Fund, agreed to revise tax breaks for GM in exchange for the company’s commitment to invest at least $3.5 billion more over 10 years in the state, including to build electric vehicles at Detroit-Hamtramck.