Manufacturing is a crucial aspect of every car company and everyone from Elon Musk to Mary Barra knows just how much money many can be lost through inefficient assembly practices or redundant technology.
That’s just part of the reason why car companies constantly reinvest in their baseline processes and it’s the same reason why GM will invest a hefty $1.2-billion in its Fort Wayne Assembly plant in Indiana: The plant needs to stay competitive in how it assembles its light and heavy-duty pickup trucks — some of GM’s best-selling vehicles.
It’s all a part of the $5.4-billion GM said it would invest in its U.S. facilities over the next three years. And it’s not the first evidence we’ve seen of that plan, either.
The cash infusion will help Fort Wayne expand its current facilities and enable it to add new capabilities as well.
Construction on a new pre-treat, electro-coat paint operation and sealing facility; expanded body shop; expanded and new material sequencing centers, and an upgraded general assembly area will begin in June and will take several years to complete.
Look for a whole slew of new environmental and technological upgrades, like:
- New pre-treatment facility featuring thin-film paint pretreatment
- E-coat paint customized to each vehicle style, resulting in superior coverage and curability
- GM-patented radiant tube ovens for exceptional paint finish and lower energy use
- New equipment that accommodates the many variations of the truck cab and box being placed on the chassis
- New skillet conveyance systems for instrument panel assembly intended to improve worker ergonomics, leading to better product quality.
“This investment is more evidence that the customer is at the center of every decision we make,” said Cathy Clegg, GM North America Manufacturing vice president. “Truck customers demand top quality. The upgrades at Fort Wayne Assembly will enable our team to continue delivering for them for years to come.”
The plant, which first began building light-duty trucks in 1986, currently operates three-shifts with approximately 3,800 employees who build numerous variations of light and heavy-duty regular and double cab versions of the GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado.
Keep your eyes peeled for more investment news – as there’s several more billion dollars that GM has yet to officially earmark.