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GM to Invest $2.2 billion in its Detroit-Hamtramck Factory to Build Only Electric Vehicles

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【Summary】General Motors announced its investing $2.2 billion in its Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant to convert the plant to build electric vehicles, including SUVs and pickup trucks. The revamped factory will be GM’s first assembly plant 100% devoted to EV production.

Eric Walz    Jan 27, 2020 10:50 AM PT
GM to Invest $2.2 billion in its Detroit-Hamtramck Factory to Build Only Electric Vehicles
GM's Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant is located about three miles from GM's corporate headquarters in Downtown Detroit.

General Motors is making another big investment in its electric future as is looks to gain ground on rival Tesla. The Detroit automaker announced its investing $2.2 billion in its Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant to convert the plant to build electric vehicles, including SUVs and pickup trucks.

The revamped factory will be GM's first assembly plant 100% devoted to EV production and will support 2,200 manufacturing jobs. GM is investing an additional $800 million in supplier tooling and other projects related to the launch of new electric trucks.

EV production at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant is scheduled to begin in late 2021. 

"Through this investment, GM is taking a big step forward in making our vision of an all-electric future a reality," said Mark Reuss, GM president, during a press event at the plant with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and other local and state officials. "Our electric pickup will be the first of multiple electric truck variants we will build at Detroit-Hamtramck over the next few years."

GM will also build the Origin electric shuttle with its self-driving division Cruise at the plant. The Cruise Origin, designed in partnership with GM, Cruise and Honda, was unveiled last week at a media event in San Francisco. The Origin is an electric, self-driving vehicle designed for urban ride-sharing.

Over the past two years the automaker has committed to invest more than $2.5 billion in Michigan to bring electric vehicles to market through additional investments at Orion assembly plant, its battery lab in Warren as well as its Brownstown battery assembly plant, which produces batteries for electric vehicles.

The Brownstown plant plays a key role in the Cruise Autonomous Vehicle program by building the roof module for all of Cruise's self-driving vehicles.

GM's Browstown assembly plant is the first EV battery plant in the U.S. operated by a major automaker, with the exception of Tesla's Nevada gigafactory, which build batteries in a joint venture with Panasonic. 

In December, GM announced a new joint venture (JV) with South Korean battery maker LG Chem to mass-produce battery cells for GM's future battery-electric vehicles. The JV will produce the battery cells for electric vehicles manufactured at Detroit-Hamtramck. The two companies are investing up to $2.3 billion in the equally owned joint-venture.

The JV will create more than 1,100 new jobs, bringing back some of the jobs lost when GM shuttered its Lordstown, Ohio assembly plant after automaker ended production of the Chevy Cruze sedan. 

LG Chem is currently the battery supplier for GM's Chevy Bolt EV.

GM said that its decision to revamp the Detroit-Hamtramck plant was due to support that the project received from the state of Michigan.

"The support from the state of Michigan was a key element in making this investment possible," added Reuss. "This investment helps ensure that Michigan will remain at the epicenter of the global automotive industry as we continue our journey to an electrified future."

GM's Detroit-Hamtramck plant was opened in February 1985 and has built more than 4 million vehicles over the years. On Nov 26, 2018, GM announced that the plant would be "unallocated" in 2019 due to slowing demand for sedans in the U.S. The plant most recently built the Cadillac CT6 and the Chevrolet Impala sedans. Both vehicles have been discontinued.

GM said the Detroit-Hamtramck plant will be idled at the end of February to prepare the plant for electric vehicle production. The renovations are expected to take several months.

GM's commitment to building electric vehicle comes as new electric truck startups like Rivian have secured billion dollar investments from e-commerce giant Amazon and GM's chief rival Ford Motor Company. Ford is also working an an electric version of its best-selling F-150 pickup.

Two weeks ago, GM announced that its luxury brand Cadillac will be at the "vanguard" of the company's shift towards an all-electric future.

GM plans to introduce up to 20 new electric models by 2023.


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