On Tuesday, March 12, 2013, General Motors broke ground and began construction of the new 450,000-square-foot paint shop at the Fairfax Assembly and Stamping Plant in Kansas City, Kansas. The new two-story paint facility is part of a $600-million investment in the plant, which builds the Chevrolet Malibu and Buick LaCrosse.
Construction will take place over the next two years and will span five major phases. Once the paint shop is complete, the plant’s total footprint will grow by 15 percent to 3.7 million square feet.
“When complete, our plant will be able to continue to paint cars with a flawless finish while using a lot less energy and resources,” said Fairfax plant manager William Kulhanek. “The addition of this paint shop also demonstrates GM’s commitment to maintain a strong presence in the Kansas City community.”
The all-new paint shop will feature substantial technology upgrades including:
- A 20-percent smaller footprint, use up to 50 percent less energy per vehicle and reduce Volatile Organic Compound emissions
- GM-patented Radiant Tub Ovens designed to use 20 percent less natural gas and 40 percent less electricity
- Thin Film Technology, which reduces water use and maintenance and eliminates hazardous chemicals from the waste stream
- Hyper Throw E-COAT, which places more coating in cavities and recesses for optimal corrosion protection.
“The employees at the Fairfax Plant are dedicated to ensuring they build the highest-quality vehicles for our customers, and are looking forward to working in one of the most advanced facilities GM operates,” said UAW Local 31 President George Ruiz. “All of our employees are pleased to know we will be working in Kansas City for years to come.”
The GM Authority Take
Here’s to hoping that demand for the new and very environmentally-friendly Chevrolet Malibu is able to keep up with the plant’s supply, in all its high-tech-paint-shop glory. Otherwise, production stoppages will be followed by drops in market share.