Although General Motors announced on July 28 that it was going to be spending $5-billion “outside of mature markets” for product development, it is worth noting that the company announced on April 30 that it would be spending $5.4-billion in its most-mature market, the U.S.
On this past Tuesday, GM announced that it was going to be investing $877-million in a plant that qualified for AARP membership some years ago, Flint Assembly, which went into production back in 1947 (which, generationally speaking, makes it a Baby Boomer, as that appellation applies to those who were born in 1946 (to ’64)).
Flint Assembly is one of the GM plants that is running rather rapidly right now, as it is where heavy-duty versions of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra are built, as well as light-duty Silverados.
Through July, Silverado deliveries are up 17.5% (to 332,202) and Sierra’s up 9% (to 120,658), so that’s a lot of trucks that need to be produced (these numbers are for the trucks overall, not just coming out of Flint alone).
The $877-million will be spent to build a new body shop, locating it closer to the Flint Metal Center, where various sheet metal and other parts are produced. Explained Cathy Clegg, GM North America Manufacturing and Labor Relations vice president, “This investment will allow us to use a more innovative approach to deliver material between two critical facilities, reducing handling and the time it takes to ship parts.”
In other words, simplifying and speeding logistics.
The body shop will measure 883,000-square-feet and is expected to be completed by 2018.
It is worth noting that since 2011 GM has announced that it is keeping Flint Assembly productive through investments that will be in excess of $1.8-billion.
Flint Assembly may be mature, but that’s nothing that some upgraded equipment, tooling, and facilities can’t improve.