1 of 2 | Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Monday described a $1 billion investment plan from General Motors as part of what's necessary to support an at-home basis for economic growth. File photo by Andrew Harrer/UPI | License Photo
June 5 (UPI) -- General Motors, one of the so-called Big Three automakers, said Monday it was investing more than $1 billion on upgrades to manufacturing centers in Michigan catering to the next generation of heavy-duty trucks.
The investment in two facilities in Flint will help GM cater to an industry that still desires heavy-duty trucks powered by the next generation of the internal combustion engine, said Gerald Johnson, an executive vice president for manufacturing at the automaker.
While trends are moving toward vehicles powered by lithium-ion batteries, GM's heavy-duty 2023 Silverado truck was among the best selling in its class.
All told, GM sold nearly 288,000 heavy-duty pickup trucks last year, a 38% increase over the previous year.
The Flint Assembly plant will get the bulk of the investment, some $788 million, to expand its body shop and upgrade tools and equipment. The Flint Metal Center gets $233 million in new equipment, including stamping dies that support truck production.
Michigan in general is working to draw more investments to the Mitten State. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, unveiled a "Make it in Michigan" initiative last week aimed at building a domestic base for economic growth.
Using her official account on Twitter, the governor said that GM's investment decision was supportive of that goal.
"Projects like this will help build out the Make it in Michigan plan I announced last week and bring us toward a common goal: a Michigan where more people can build their lives, be themselves, and get a great job," she said.
The powerful United Auto Workers union also expressed its support for the latest investment decision for Michigan.
"When business is booming as it has been for the past decade -- due to the hard work of UAW members -- the company should continue to invest in its workforce," said Mike Booth, a union vice president catering to GM relations.
In January, GM announced plans to invest $918 million at four of its plants, including two in Michigan, in order to build its sixth-generation small block V-8 engine and to support electric vehicle production.
The company reported net revenue of $40 billion during the first quarter, an 11% improvement over year-ago levels.