Major vehicle seat manufacturer Lear Corp. is gearing up to add even more production capacity at several sites in Michigan as GM, one of its main customers, prepares to roll out more electric vehicle models.
Lear just announced it is leasing 268,000 more square feet of the facility formerly used as the Cadillac Stamping Plant in Detroit, making it the only occupant of the plant’s total 684,000 square feet. Crain’s Detroit Business says Ray Scott, CEO of Lear, indicated the company will have more expansion announcements in the near future.
A year ago, Lear inked a deal with GM to supply the latter with seats for the upcoming 2024 Chevy Silverado EV. Lear handled most aspects of the seating design, including choosing materials such as seating foam, trim, and plastics, along with designing the seat belts, adjustment mechanisms, and internal structure.
Lear slated production of both front bucket seats and rear bench seats for the 2024 Chevy Silverado EV to take place at the former Cadillac Stamping Plant. Production of the 2024 Chevy Silverado EV will start in spring 2023.
Lear Corp.’s strong involvement with GM’s push into electric vehicles was underlined in late 2022. In October, GM picked Lear as its exclusive supplier of Battery Disconnect Units (BDUs) for new GM Ultium-based full-size SUVs and trucks. Lear will continue in this role at least through the 2030 calendar year.
Two months later, in December 2022, the state of Michigan approved Lear’s plans to build a BDU plant in Michigan’s Independence Township. The company is dedicating $80 million to construction of the facility, which it claims will create hundreds of local jobs.
Lear’s latest expansion, leasing the full factory floor area of the Cadillac Stamping Plant, will enable it to potentially supply GM with seating for multiple EV models. Its seating production is already being used at GM’s Factory Zero in Detroit, previously known as the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Center.
As a reminder, GM has aggressive plans for EV production and broadening of its EV lineup. It intends to offer EVs in one-third of all vehicle segments by 2025 with 30 individual EV models available worldwide. These 30 new EVs will include models from the Cadillac, GMC, Chevrolet, and Buick nameplates.
GM further claims it will offer EVs “at all price points.” It will debut models meeting the needs of many different users, from family vehicles to performance, work, or adventure. GM expects over 40 percent of its U.S. portfolio to consist of EVs by late 2025.