General Motors today will announce a $50 million investment at its Lords- town plant, as the facility gears up to build the highly anticipated next-generation Chevrolet Cruze.
To date, the automaker has invested more than $600 million to produce the Cruze at Lordstown, which previously made the Chevrolet Cobalt.
In 2008, GM spent $351 million to retool the plant for the transition. In 2011, it put $5.5 million into the facility’s stamping and body shops, and the following year the company announced $200 million would go toward tooling and equipment for the Cruze’s remodel.
Today’s investment will fund a new flexible trim shop and upgrades to the press room. Some construction already is happening, GM said.
“This investment will en- hance our customer responsiveness while providing our team with the tools and processes needed to be the best at building the next- generation Cruze,” Bob Parcell, Lordstown plant manager, said in a statement.
Business and government leaders have praised GM’s commitment to Lordstown and touted the complex as a crucial part of the automaker’s rebound in the years after the federal bailout of Detroit.
Jay Williams, former Youngstown mayor and executive director of the U.S. Office of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers, highlighted the plant’s importance at a Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber event in February.
“GM Lordstown became the go-to plant for the corporation both in its crisis time and its decision to restructure,” he said.
Since then, the Cruze has become GM’s second-best-selling vehicle with 248,224 units delivered last year.
GM recently announced new features for the 2015 model year, which will hit dealer lots in the fall. But the company has remained silent on when production for the next generation would begin.
GM said that information would follow at a later date.
The millionth Cruze rolled off the lines April 10, GM said. United Auto Workers Locals 1112 and 1714 are buying the hot, red LT model and raffling it off to a Lordstown employee, with the proceeds going to local charities.
“We want to thank our team members at Lordstown for their dedication and commitment to Cruze, and we want to thank our million-plus customers across North America and our Chevrolet dealers for their support and enthusiasm for this great car,” union presidents Glenn Johnson and Robert Morales said in a joint statement.
The Lordstown complex has built more than 15 million vehicles since opening in April 1966.