Calling it a major milestone, General Motors dedicated its new Allison Transmission manufacturing plant in White Marsh, near Baltimore, Maryland, last Friday.

The plant, which began manufacturing the 1000 Series transmission in January, will ultimately produce 140,000 units a year. GM has invested $200 million in the 412,000 square-foot plant.

The facility will employ more than 400 United Auto Workers union members and salaried staff.

Construction started on the new facility in 1999. Centrally located a quarter mile from the I-95 motorway in Baltimore County, the new plant will enable Allison Transmission to meet anticipated strong demand for the 1000 Series transmission, company officials said.

The transmission, which is also made at an Indianapolis, Indiana factory, is used in GM's 2001 model Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra. It is also sold to other vehicle manufacturers for use in step vans, buses, utility and municipal vehicles and commercial duty pickup trucks.

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