Flint Assembly will benefit from GM investment in Warren

FLINT — No Flint-area plants were included in GM’s recent announcement that it will invest $5.4 billion in its US operations during the next three years, including $783.5 million for three Michigan facilities. Among those, Warren Pre Production Operations (PPO) will be getting $139.5 million to expand and upgrade its facilities and that does have a Flint connection.

“The Flint Assembly launch team frequently visits PPO to work on future models of the trucks we build here in Flint,” said Tom Wickham, of GM”S Flint Manufacturing Communications and Global Manufacturing Communications. “They typically go in 18 months to two years prior to a new or modified model being released.”

Assembly plants send employees to PPO to learn the manufacturing process required to build new vehicles. This Plant Core Team spends time at PPO to help streamline the production process, eliminating manufacturing issues 18 months to two years prior to the start of production.

About $113 million of the Warren PPO investment is for a new body shop and stamping facility upgrades. The expansion will add 164,000 square feet to the existing PPO Body Shop. It will allow for the addition of new equipment to support both aluminum and steel vehicle body assemblies. The equipment that will be installed include:

Flexible robotic framing

Laser welding

Robotic roller hemming

Underbody subassembly

The remaining $26.5 million of this investment will be at PPO Machining, Tooling & Stamping (MTS) at the PPO South Campus will increase stamping capabilities.

GM’s Pre-Production Operations works with Product Engineering and Global Manufacturing Engineering to build the first, fully functional versions of new and next-generation vehicles. PPO builds 2,500 vehicles each year at the Warren site and four other global PPO facilities/

“General Motors is investing in Michigan – and Michiganders,” said Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, responding to the announcement. “Our state’s automotive heritage and expertise is known around the globe, and GM and its work- force are a major part of that. We’re going to continue to ensure the best environment for GM, the auto industry and all other industries to grow and thrive, creating more and better jobs. That includes connecting and developing the talent to keep the economic engine running at full speed long into our state’s bright future.”

The Pontiac Metal Center is slated for a $124 million investment and $520 million is going to the Lansing Delta Township assembly plant for tooling and equipment for future vehicle programs.

GM will detail the remaining $4.6 billion and identify plants involved over the next several months, according to the press release.

Since June 2009, GM has announced U.S. facility investment of approximately $16.8 billion. In total, these investments have created 3,650 new jobs and secured the positions of approximately 20,700 others. — R.S.

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