General Motors plans to invest $61 million to bring its idled Spring Hill, Tenn., assembly plant back to life as one of the world’s most-flexible manufacturing facilities capable of building any GM car or crossover based on customer demand or manufacturing need. The investment will create 594 hourly jobs and 91 salaried positions for the flexible operation scheduled to begin with the hot-selling Chevrolet Equinox in the second half of 2012.
According to Cathy Clegg, GM's vice president of labor relations, the additional production will supplement Equinox production in Canada, the main assembly sites of the midsize crossover vehicle and its sibling the GMC Terrain. The Equinox has been so popular – U.S. sales were up 18 percent in October – that GM has thrice increased production since the vehicle went into production in 2009.
In addition, GM announced a second investment of $183 million for future midsize vehicles to be built at Spring Hill, located about 40 miles south of Nashville. Timing was not announced, but that investment is expected to create an additional 1,090 hourly and 106 salaried positions.
“Spring Hill has a history as one of GM’s most innovative and flexible plants,” Clegg said. “We’re pleased that, working together with the UAW, we were able to build on that history and develop a plan to resume production at Spring Hill.”
The potential for Spring Hill’s future role was discussed as a part of negotiations for a four-year national labor agreement ratified in October.
"Our number one priority in auto negotiations this year was jobs," said Bob King, UAW president. "We asked the company to bring jobs back to America , and that’s what this collective bargaining agreement represents. Together, we are bringing 1,800 jobs to Tennessee, and a total of 6,400 new GM jobs, which translates to nearly 60,000 good, auto-related jobs in the United States."