UPDATE: GM announces more new jobs for Spring Hill

UPDATE: GM announces more new jobs for Spring Hill

General Motors announced this morning that 792 more jobs would be coming to the manufacturing facility in Spring Hill.

General Motors announced this morning that 792 more jobs would be coming to the manufacturing facility in Spring Hill, where the staff already has been increased to build the Cadillac XT5 and the GMC Acadia sport utility vehicles.

Arvin Jones, GM North America manufacturing manager, said that $790 million will be invested in Spring Hill for an all-new high-efficiency engine program, modernization of the power train facility and additional support for the new vehicles.

“Spring Hill was chosen for this new investment, and the engines and vehicles that it builds, largely because it has a stellar track record,” Jones said during his announcement on Wednesday morning. “A lot of great work is done in here by a lot of great people.”

Since 2010, GM has invested more than $2 billion in Spring Hill to add new vehicle and engine lines to the plants powertrain and assembly facilities, Jones said. Almost half of that has been invested in Spring Hill in just the past year, according to Mike Herron, UAW Local 1853 chairman.

“We are in the midst of a massive hiring process we’ve got going on here,” Herron said. “Both for our supply base and for the plant, the jobs at General Motors as well. We’re putting on a second shift of production, and as we put on a second shift of production that’s going to take several hundred more people.”

But according to Herron, the 792 jobs announced on Wednesday will be totally created from the new $790 million investment – in addition to the jobs created from other investments in the past year.

The vast majority of the $790 million will go toward engine production in Spring Hill’s powertrain facilities. One of the focal points of the investment is new high-efficiency engine production.

“It’s an engine that is technologically advanced,” Herron said. “You know there are federal government standards in place that say you have to be at 52.5 miles per gallon on a fleet basis by 2025. That’s been set up by the federal government.”

“Everything you see these car manufacturers do, whether it be going to aluminum so you’re eliminating weight or going to plastic injection molding like this site does quite well, using composite materials or utilizing advanced propulsion systems – that’s what they’re going to do. You’ll see a lot of electric, you’ll see hydrogen, you’ll see some of the engines like we’re announcing here where it’ll be a truly advanced engine that will be General Motors’ world engine that will take us for the next 15-20 years.”

Gov. Bill Haslam, local government officials and members of the legislature were on hand at the plant for the announcement, but most plant workers were absent since the plant has been idled by a shortage of parts manufactured in a region of Japan devastated by powerful earthquakes earlier this month.

Herron said the assembly plant is likely to be up and running about May 9. The powertrain facility, however, is still churning out engines, Herron added.

Construction at the plant will begin in May and will last several years. Herron said that the effects of the $792 million investment will be “almost instantaneous.”

The Spring Hill plant has been building the 2.5 liter Ecotec engine used in a variety of GM vehicles since 2006. In February the company announced a $148 million investment to make small block 6.2 liter V8 engines at the Spring Hill plant.

“‘Proud, proud, proud,'” said Spring Hill Mayor Rick Graham. “Those were the first words that I said yesterday as we were right out here taking the keys to the first sold Cadillac XT5 made right here at the Spring Hill Manufacturing facility, the best auto manufacturing facility in the world. We took some heat in this purchase but it was all about giving back to GM and UAW for continuing to invest in our city.”

Quint Qualls covers Spring Hill for Home Page Media Group. Reach him at quint@springhillhomepage.com.

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