General Motors revealed that it will be investing $200 million into its Orion Assembly Plant, as well as its Pontiac Metal Center facility to help prepare them for a future vehicle program that will be arriving at both plants in the near future. These two investments are part of a broader $300 million dollar investment plan that was mentioned by GM CEO Mary Barra during a speech she made at the Detroit Economic Club back in October.
This news comes after word that GM plans on laying off some 160 workers from the plant beginning next year.
Orion will receive the biggest chunk of the investment ($160 million) which will go into new tooling and equipment for the project. Meanwhile, Pontiac Metal Center will receive the remaining $40 million dollars which will cover the cost of new metal dies that are needed for the unnamed future vehicle. “Today’s announcement is a shot in the arm for these two terrific plants known for their teamwork and employee engagement,” said Cathy Clegg, GM North America Manufacturing vice president. “We’re committed to growing our brands and producing the highest-quality and safest vehicles for our customers.”
While no new jobs will be created by these latest moves, the latest cash infusion brings the total money invested into both Orion and Pontiac Metal Assembly to $775 million since 2010. Orion in particular is also riding high on a prior $545 million dollar investment that prepared the facility to efficiently produce the Chevrolet Sonic and Buick Verano compact cars (this author owns a Verano Turbo). In a separate statement, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder praised GM’s announcement stating “This major investment by GM underscores Michigan’s leadership in the automotive industry and reflects a broad-based confidence among job providers that our state is the place to do business.” “We appreciate GM’s ongoing contributions to Michigan and will continue our work to create an environment that keeps the economy driving forward.”
This move has us curious to see what new model will exactly be assembled at Orion, but in the long run this latest investment allows both plants to remain a vital part of the community and still be key cogs in the greater GM operation. In addition, it also resonates with me personally, since my dad worked at both Orion and Pontiac Metal Center during his long career with GM, and was around at Orion back when they were assembling the Oldsmobile Aurora, Buick Riviera, Cadillac Deville and Pontiac Bonneville. During this period of time, I also had the opportunity to tour the Orion plant a few times, and while Orion has made significant progress since the days when those beasts rumbled there way down the assembly line. It is only when you set foot in a plant like Orion and look around at its vast assembly areas that you truly see the value and impact that investments like the one announced will have on the facility first hand, and that’s always a good thing indeed.