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General Motors Co. plans to increase V-8 engine production by investing $148 million in its Spring Hill Manufacturing facilityin Tennessee.

The Detroit automaker on Thursday said the investment includes repurposing flexible machining and assembly equipment to be able to produce the Detroit automaker’s small block 6.2-liter V-8. The facility’s engine operations currently produce two four-cylinder Ecotec engines.

Work to repurpose the machinery will begin immediately with V-8 production scheduled to begin during the fourth quarter – an accelerated timeframe compared to the years it traditionally takes to launch a new engine line at a plant.

“This investment will position GM and its workforce to promptly respond to consumer demand for this engine in the popular truck and SUV segment,” said GM North America Manufacturing Manager Arvin Jones in a statement. “The flexibility of Spring Hill’s engine machining and assembly equipment is allowing GM to respond deftly when additional engine variant capacity is needed.”

GM said the investment will retain about 200 jobs, but not create any new positions.

The V8 engine is in high demand, as it is available in several of GM’s best-selling vehicles, including the Chevrolet Silverado Crew Cab, GMC Sierra Crew Cab, Yukon Denali, Yukon XL Denali and Cadillac Escalade models.

A company spokesman declined to comment on how much the investment is expected to increase V8 engine production and GM’s V8 engine capacity.

Other GM plants building the V8 for trucks are Tonawanda, New York, and St. Catharines, Ontario.

The investment is part of GM’s promise to invest $1.9 billion in U.S. facilities under its contract with the United Auto Workers. Since the contract’s ratification in November, GM has announced $709.4 million in investments.

“Spring Hill and its employees have a reputation for producing award-winning four-cylinder engines,” said UAW Local 1853 Chairman Mike Herron. “We appreciate GM recognizing these outstanding skills with the opportunity to build V8 engines for some of GM’s most popular full-size trucks and SUVs.”

Since 2010, GM has announced investments of more than $1.35 billion for the Spring Hill operations, which will begin to assemble the Cadillac XT5 and GMC Acadia crossovers in the spring.

mwayland@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2504

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