General Motors reportedly said it will install about $US135 million of new equipment within the next two years at a plant in Marion, central Indiana.

According to the Associated Press (AP), GM officials said the hardware would allow employees to more efficiently make vehicle doors, roofs, hoods, fenders, floor plans and other components at the plant in the city about 60 miles northeast of Indianapolis.

The announcement reportedly came a week after the Marion City Council voted to grant a tax abatement for the new equipment.

Gary Smith, a spokesman for GM's Metal Fabricating Division, told AP the tax break and work quality gave the Marion factory an edge over 11 other competing metal-stamping plants.

"We think it's a good investment," Smith reportedly said. "It's a vote of confidence for the plant and its people and certainly bodes well for the community of Marion."

Updating aging machinery creates additional job security for the nearly 1,700 employees at the plant and means the factory will have the technology to handle future projects, local GM spokesman Fred Cox told the Associated Press.

After this year's closing of Marion's Thomson plant - a move that left about 1,000 people without jobs - the GM plant has become Grant County's largest employer, AP noted.

The reason GM is able to invest millions while Thomson decided to close its television picture tube plant has to do with the parts produced at each factory, Patrick Barkey, director of the Bureau of Business Research at Ball State University, told the news agency.

"You don't even see American-made TVs," Barkey reportedly said. But "we export a lot of American-made cars."

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