General Motors invested roughly $1.4 billion in its Arlington Assembly plant in Texas in order to build its new line of T1 full-size SUVs, such as the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe and 2021 Chevrolet Suburban that debuted this week.
GM says the previously announced investment went toward a brand-new 1-million-square-foot body shop, along with a 600,000-square-foot expansion of the existing paint shop. The automaker also installed high-precision camera- and laser-based inspection systems in the plant, which it says “offer more sophisticated quality checks for the segment-leading SUVs,” while they are travelling through the production line.
“Everything we do at Arlington Assembly is focused on building better vehicles for our customers,” said Arlington Assembly executive director Bill Kulhanek. “This strategic expansion brings the latest in manufacturing and inspection technologies, while adding procedures designed to improve the quality and durability of the Tahoe and Suburban.”
Arlington Assembly also had to go under extensive re-tooling to accommodate the updates applied to the next-generation full-size SUVs. For example, the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban feature a new multi-link independent rear suspension system, which required some changes to be made to the assembly line. Other items, such as the new panoramic sunroof, electric hydraulic braking system, standard LED headlamps and the new cyber-secure Digital Vehicle Platform, also required modifications to the line.
Kulhanek said the upgrades will make Arlington more flexible as well, allowing GM to offer more model variants and trim variations with this new generation of full-size SUVs. “That means more choices for customers. In fact, the trim range for Tahoe and Suburban expands to six, with distinct designs and features on each.”
GM added a new High Country trim level to the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban order books for 2021, which will serve as the range-topping model. The automaker is also offering the off-road-focused Tahoe Z71 and sport-inspired Tahoe RST trim levels from launch, giving customers more choice right from the get-go.
Arlington Assembly, which first opened in 1954, has roughly 5.75 million square feet of floor space and employs approximately 4,800 hourly and salaried personnel. It will serve as the sole production site of the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban and will also build the upcoming new Cadillac Escalade and GMC Yukon.