GM’s announcement good news for region

General Motors delivered an early Christmas gift to three Michigan communities recently when company brass announced the automaker will invest $1.3 billion in new equipment and expansions at three factories in the state.

GM plans to spend $600 million for the paint shop at the Flint truck assembly plant; $493 million at its Romulus Powertrain Operations plant, and $121 million at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant where workers assemble the Chevrolet Malibu, Impala and Volt.

The 3.7 million-square-foot Flint truck assembly plant — where about 2,800 employees make heavy-duty pickup trucks — will be upgraded with new tooling and equipment, along with a new water-based paint shop. A new paint shop reflects a commitment by GM that it will be making vehicles in a plant for the longer term.

Monday’s announcement is also good news for Genesee County residents who for years heard only bad news related to GM. Earlier this year GM closed its Grand Blanc Weld Tool Center, displacing 343 workers. But in 2011 the company invested $80 million at its Flint engine plant to expand output of the 1.4-liter engine used on the Chevrolet Volt and certain versions of the Chevrolet Cruze.

What’s good for GM in Flint is, by extension along the I-69 corridor, good for our community here in Lapeer County where hundreds of GM employees live and raise their families.

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