Chevrolet Volt assembly at Detroit-Hamtramck

Chevrolet Volt assembly at Detroit-Hamtramck

General Motors on Wednesday (24 May) said it was adding two shifts and about 2,500 hourly and salaried jobs at its Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant to build the redesigned Chevrolet Malibu mid-size sedan and the next-generation Impala large sedan alongside the Chevrolet Volt and Opel Ampera models currently buillt there.

The current Impala is made in Oshawa, east of Toronto in Ontario, Canada.

GM on Wednesday announced the additional shifts and a US$69m investment in tooling and equipment for the next Impala. In April 2010, it announced a $121m spend on Malibu production.

“Filling this plant with new work is very satisfying because GM is dedicated to helping rebuild this city,” GM North America President Mark Reuss said at the plant on Wednesday. “We are confident in the flexibility of the plant, the excellence of our workers and the great cars assembled here.”

The announcement is part of GM’s plan announced on 10 May to create or retain about 4,000 jobs and invest $2bn in 17 manufacturing facilities in eight states. The moves are on top of 9,000 jobs claimed to be saved or added and $3.4bn invested in US operations since mid-2009.

The jobs will be filled by laid-off UAW members with the possibility of new recruitment to follow.

GM announced last week that, after a four-week shutdown, the Detroit-Hamtramck plant would exclusively build Chevrolet Volt and Opel/Vauxhall Ampera models for the rest of the year. Exports to Canada, Europe and China are included in the total of 16,000 electric vehicles being built for the full 2011 calendar year. The Volt/Ampera production goal for 2012 is up to 60,000 with 75% of those to be sold in the United States.

The new Malibu - Chevrolet’s first global midsize sedan, replacing its North America-only predecessor – will be built in Detroit and Fairfax, Kansas, as well as China and Korea and will be sold in more than 100 countries on six continents.

Detroit-Hamtramck currently has 1,121 hourly and salaried employees.

The Detroit News said earlier it was unclear when the third shift would be added as it depended on the timetable for the new Impala which GM is expected to launch in 2012 or 2013.

The paper said the plant had 1,350 workers remaining in the layoff pool.

During the four-week shutdown the plant will complete some pre-scheduled upgrades, including the installation of new tools, equipment and overhead conveyor systems throughout the facility.