According to GM North America President Mark Reuss, the company will spend $1.5 billion this year in investment plans. This amount factors into the $10.2 billion that the company has earmarked for investing since July 2009.
The most recently announced funds will go towards factories that will work on new engines and transmissions, including a new V6 engine, a small, fuel-efficient engine, and an 8-speed transmission. GM North America Vice President Diana Tremblay said, “we are investing in technologies and manufacturing capabilities that produce high-quality, fuel-efficient vehicles and components for our customers.”
Recent investments include $600 million that will go to a Fairfax Assembly Plant in Kansas and $200 million that will be used to expand a Michigan powertrain complex. The investments announced Thursday will largely go to Michigan plants, with $215 million going toward the small Ecotec engines in Flint, $31.7 million going towards parts manufacturing in Bay City, an extra $46 million on top of a previously announced $600 million for plants in Romulus and Saginaw, plus $55.7 million going towards the new 8-speed transmission at a plant in Toledo, Ohio…
The investments may give employees at the plants a little more confindence in the security of their positions, but Arvin Jones — a GM North America manufacturing manager — said the investments won’t create new jobs.
As fuel-efficient cars have experienced growing demand in recent years, and as the U.S. government sets standards for fuel economy, it’s important for GM to have vehicles that make the grade. Investments in improved drivetrains, transmissions, and engines may be just what it takes to stay competitive.
However, the investments could also potentially help the company get ahead of competitors in the race towards more fuel-efficient vehicles, which may help bring up its market share. GM already managed to increase its U.S. market share to 18 percent in the first quarter from 17.5 percent a year earlier, and any increases would be good for GM, which hit an 88-year low in market share in 2012.
Considering the company’s relative success in the first quarter — with a 9.3 percent increase in car and light truck sales and boosted sales for all four of its brands — it may not be out of the cards for GM to continue turning things around.
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