Michigan Approves Lear Plant Construction To Provide GM With Battery Disconnect Units1
Lear Corporation is set to construct a new facility in Independence Township, Michigan. The new facility will supply GM with battery disconnect units for use in future GM EVs.
Late this past October, Lear Corporation announced that had been selected as the exclusive supplier of battery disconnect units for new GM Ultium-based full-size SUVs and trucks through the 2030 calendar year. The selection expands on Lear’s existing business with GM, and represents the largest single electrification platform win for the company’s E-Systems division. Lear currently makes the majority of its annual revenue by supplying seats.
Now, according to a recent report from Crain’s Detroit Business, the announcement of the new Lear plant in Independence Township follows the approval of a new $6.4 million incentives package by Michigan officials. The package includes a $4.5 million business development grant and a $1.9 million tax exemption, per a briefing memo from the Michigan Economic Development Corp.
According to Michigan officials, the incentives were required to secure Lear’s business in Michigan over competing locations in Mexico and Texas. The expansion of Lear’s E-Systems division follows a broader move in the auto industry to expand on electric vehicle offerings, as well as the localization of Lear’s manufacturing efforts in response to incentives for on-shoring included in the Inflation Reduction Act.
The proposed project includes a $112.5 million capital investment from Lear, and is expected to create upwards of 500 new jobs. The new investment will be poured into three separate sites, with the biggest chunk going to the new battery disconnect plant in Independence Township. The facility will span some 120,000 square feet, half of which will be dedicated to battery disconnect unit production, with the remainder split between warehousing, labs, testing, and offices.
Additionally, Lear is moving to upgrade its Sterling Heights plant to increase production needed for the battery assemblies supplied to GM. What’s more, Lear is reportedly considering an expansion to its Traverse City facility to manufacture EV battery pack components.
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Where in Independence Twp. is this plant going to be located? Is it an existing building? Is it close to the Brown Road plant (which is Lake Orion)?