General Motors CEO Mary Barra sat down with CNBC to discuss its plan to invest $1.8B in the U.S. while adding 700 new jobs across six states. The interview happened as the automaker announced some of the money and jobs it plans to invest would go into its Orion Township, Michigan factory to produce a new Chevrolet electric vehicle. The plant will receive $300M and gain 400 new jobs. It currently employs around 880 hourly and 130 salaried workers.
“When we look at the architect that this vehicle is coming off of, and there’ve been significant enhancements, but it makes sense because the Chevrolet Bolt EV is built at Orion and this is a great workforce,” Mary Barra said in the interview. “So there’s capacity here to be able to do that, and there’re synergies as well.”
According to General Motors, the new Chevrolet EV will be “designed and engineered off an advanced version of the current award-winning Bolt EV architecture.” GM is keeping other details under wraps, adding that additional information will be released closer to the when the new vehicle begins production. But early hints of the possible EV have peeked out, as evident by the photo below. Early indications have suggested an electric Cadillac will be built at Orion, as well.
According to CNBC, General Motors has 73 percent plant efficiency, trailing its domestic rivals. GM had planned to build the new Chevrolet EV outside the U.S. but decided to build it in the U.S. due to the United States, Mexico, and Canada Agreement that’s pending legislative approval and could replace the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Mary Barra added that General Motors is committed to investing in the U.S. as the market grows for trucks and crossovers and EVs. “I believe as we continue to go forward not only maintaining the employment that we have here and the good paying jobs but creating more,” she said.
General Motors is restructuring its business model, aiming to invest in electric and autonomous vehicles going forward. However, to do that, the automaker has made some tough decisions like proposing to idle five North American factories that produce vehicles consumers aren’t buying like they used to. Its decision to idle factories has drawn the ire of U.S. President Trump in recent days.