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GM: New electric vehicle will bring jobs to Oakland County plant

(WJRT)
Published: Mar. 22, 2019 at 2:28 PM EDT
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(03/22/19) - General Motors says it has plans to invest $1.8 billion in U.S. manufacturing across six states and add 700 jobs in a long-term strategy to introduce several new battery electric vehicles during the next several years.

Part of that would include the creation of an assembly line to build a new electric vehicle at the Orion Township plant in Oakland County.

"I am incredibly pleased to announce this morning that General Motors will be investing $300 million and adding 400 new jobs to this facility to produce an all new Chevrolet electric vehicle," GM CEO Mary Barra said.

She didn't give specific details about the rest of the big investment, including where the rest of the jobs would come from or what vehicles might be involved.

Flint Assembly was also mentioned during GM's announcement Friday.

In addition to the new investment of jobs here in Orion we are in the process of adding a thousand jobs at the Flint truck Assembly plant which is building our all new heavy duty trucks," Barra said.

This week in particular GM has come under intense scrutiny by President Donald Trump. He called for the auto giant to reopen the Lordstown, Ohio manufacturing plant.

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"Right now we're focused on the poeple of Lordstown, making sure they have opportunities because we do have jobs. We want every single person in Lordstown to stay within the GM family," Barra said.

Barra said Orion, which manufactures the Chevy Sonic, Bolt EV and Cruz AV was the "logical place" to build the new electric vehicle, and she also said they had initially planned to build it overseas.

"All we will share is that it was going to be outside of the country but as we evaluate as we regularly do what makes sense, this is the place it made sense," Barra said.

She explained the company's point of view on the new NAFTA.

"We support USMCA. We think that it... there was a lot of work that was done in modernizing. It recognized the complexity of the auto industry and the supply chain, but we are supportive and we are making adjustments because we will comply," Barra said.

Governor Whitmer and other local and state officials were also present.

"I want to thank the front line who does the work of building these phenomenal automobiles," Whitmer said. "The best dam workforce on the planet, right."

While the announcement was largely positive for the Orion plant and its employees, GM did not escape criticism from the UAW about recent layoffs.

"I will not spoil a great occasion here today but there is hardship amongst four of our locations and we've made it clear that we disagree with that," said UAW International Vice President Terry Dittes.

"I want to congratulate my brothers and sisters from the UAW. Give yourself a round of applause. You guys do good work here," said UAW Region 1 Director Frank Stuglin.

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Employees also reacted to the news.

"We always seem to get bad news and you know with the plants closing all around this is just great for everybody," said Chrissy Clason, a 12-year employee.

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