General Motors has started construction on a new 450,000-square-foot, bi-level paint shop at the Fairfax assembly and stamping plant in Kansas City.

The paint shop is part of a  US$600m investment in the plant, which builds the Buick LaCrosse and Chevrolet Malibu.

Construction will take place in five major phases during the next two years and when the paint shop is complete, the plant's footprint will be 3.7m square feet, an increase of 15%.

"When complete, our plant will be able to continue to paint cars while using a lot less energy and resources," said plant manager, William Kulhanek. "The addition of this paint shop also demonstrates GM's commitment to maintain a strong presence in the Kansas City community."

The paint shop will feature technology upgrades including a 20% smaller footprint and using up to 50% less energy per vehicle and reduce volatile organic compound emissions.

It will also have GM-patented radiant tub ovens designed to use 20% less natural gas and 40% less electricity, as well as thin film technology, which reduces water use and maintenance, while eliminating hazardous chemicals from the waste stream.

There will also be a Hyper Throw E-COAT, which places more coating in cavities and recesses for corrosion protection.

"The employees at the Fairfax Plant are dedicated to ensuring they build the highest-quality vehicles for our customers, and are looking forward to working in one of the most advanced facilities GM operates," said UAW Local 31 president, George Ruiz.

"All of our employees are pleased to know we will be working in Kansas City for years to come."