GM plans to invest more than $900 million in 4 plants, Flint to get a new engine

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — General Motors says it will spend more than $900 million to upgrade four plants with…

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — General Motors says it will spend more than $900 million to upgrade four plants, with the bulk going to the Flint, Mich., engine plant to build the next generation of V8s for large pickup trucks and SUVs.

Factories in Rochester, New York; Insubordination, Ohio; and Bay City, Michigan; there will also be investments, some of which are aimed at making V8 engine components as well as parts for future electric vehicles, the company said on Friday.

The investment will not create new jobs, but it will preserve about 2,400 hourly and salaried positions at the four sites, the company said.

The investment “will ensure job security at these plants for many years to come,” GM manufacturing chief Gerald Johnson said in a statement.

Most of the money, $579 million, will go to Flint Engine Operations for equipment to build the sixth-generation small-block V8 that will go into the next round of large pickup trucks and SUVs. The plant now employs about 700 people and will also continue to make its current product, a diesel engine used in light trucks.

GM, like other automakers, faces tougher government fuel economy standards and pollution limits starting in the 2024 model year. Under the Biden administration’s new rules, which reverse the repeal of standards passed under former President Donald Trump, new cars sold in the U.S. will have to average at least 40 miles per gallon in 2026, up from about 28 miles per gallon.

This means that the new V8 will have more mileage and less pollution than the current versions. Although GM has not released details about the new engine, Johnson said during a press conference at the Flint plant that it will be more efficient than the current version.

GM is aiming to sell only electric passenger cars by 2035, but Johnson said that’s a dozen years away, a period when many customers will still want gas engines.

“We know it has a horizon,” he said. “There are a lot of internal combustion customers here and there that we don’t want to lose,” he said.

In addition to Flint, GM’s engine components plant in Bay City, Michigan, will receive $216 million to build camshafts and connecting rods, as well as to machine engine blocks and heads for the new V8 being built in Flint. Now the factory employs about 425 people.

The Defiance, Ohio foundry will receive $55 million to create various casting blocks for the new V8. Included is $8 million in castings to support future electric vehicles, the company said. About 530 people work at the plant.

And GM’s Rochester, N.Y., operations will receive $68 million, with $56 million of that for production of battery cooling lines for electric vehicles. The rest will go to tooling to make intake manifolds and fuel injection rails for the new V8. About 745 people work at the Rochester facility, GM said.

GM’s Tonawanda, N.Y., plant now produces fifth-generation small-block V8s for large pickup trucks and SUVs, and Johnson said that will continue through the end of the decade. “It’s a great organization, a great workforce for us,” he said Friday. “Tonawanda will drive the current Gen 5 well into the future,” he said.

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