General Motors will spend around $US73m readying its Shreveport, Louisiana, assembly plant to make the new Hummer H3T pickup truck, the production version of a concept first shown in the US in 2003.

GM group vice president and GM North America president Troy Clarke said: "The H3T is unique for Hummer because it is the brand's first true pickup… and will carve out a new niche in the truck market."

The H3T is scheduled to arrive at US dealers by third quarter 2008.

In the last few years, GM has invested approximately $1.5 billion in Shreveport which has built trucks since 1981, beginning with the Chevy S-10. The plant presently produces left-hand drive Hummer H3 SUV models (RHD production is in South Africa) plus Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon mid-size pickup trucks.

Shreveport Assembly employs approximately 2,100 workers.

According to the Associated Press (AP), the work force has dropped from about 3,000 over the last two years as GM, struggling through bad financial times, offered workers buyouts.

GM would not tell the news agency whether the project would increase the plant's payroll.

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