General Motors has confirmed it was spending US$300m at its Orion Township, Michigan, assembly plant to produce a new Chevrolet electric vehicle that will bring 400 new jobs to the factory.
"Today's announcement is part of GM's new commitment to invest a total of $1.8bn in its United States manufacturing operations, creating 700 new jobs and supporting 28,000 jobs across six states," the automaker said in a statement.
The new EV is in addition to the existing Chevrolet Bolt EV and will be based on an updated version of that model's architecture.
The 400 additional jobs are incremental to numbers associated with GM's restructuring announcement last autumn. The new Chevrolet EV is in addition to the company's earlier announcement that Cadillac would be the first brand to get vehicles off a future EV platform.
"We are excited to bring these jobs and this investment to the US," said GM chairman and CEO Mary Barra during an announcement at the plant with employees, elected officials and community leaders. "This new Chevrolet electric vehicle is another positive step toward our commitment to an all-electric future. GM will continue to invest in our US operations where we see opportunities for growth."
In a move sure to please US president Donald Trump, who has castigated the automaker over its closure of an Ohio plant recently, the new electric vehicle had been slated for production outside the US.
GM said the decision to bring it to Orion was based on many factors, including Orion currently builds the Bolt EV, and the new Chevrolet EV will be based off an advanced version of the same vehicle architecture, and moving production to a US plant supports the rules of origin provisions in the proposed United States, Mexico and Canada Agreement.
GM said it had job opportunities at several other US plants for "virtually all US hourly employees" impacted by the recent announcement of "unallocated plants". Other GM plants adding jobs include Flint, Michigan; Spring Hill, Tennessee; Bowling Green, Kentucky; Arlington, Texas; and Toledo, Ohio.
GM said it had 2,700 jobs elsewhere for the 2,800 affected at the "unallocated plants" and 1,100 had so far been placed with several hundred more in the process. 1,200 of those employees are retirement-eligible.
Orion Assembly currently builds the Bolt EV, Chevrolet Sonic and Cruise AV test vehicles. The plant currently employs about 880 hourly and 130 salaried employees. Including the new investment, GM has spent nearly $1bn there since 2009.