GM Flint Assembly to host public open house Tuesday

Melissa Burden
The Detroit News

General Motors Co. will host a public open house Tuesday at its Flint Assembly Plant that will include tours of its oldest North American assembly plant in operation.

The Detroit automaker said the open house runs 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with events outside and indoor tours of the plant are scheduled 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.. The tours will be first-come, first-served at the facility located at 3100 Van Slyke Road.

GM says to park in the lot to the north of the plant and to take Flint Mass Transportation Authority buses to the plant for tours. The buses also will stop at the UAW Region 1-D nearby on Atherton Road, which is hosting a car show featuring Flint Assembly employees’ classic cars and visitors can tour the UAW Sit-Down Memorial.

Visitors who tour the plant will ride trams and see full-size pickups being made and roll off the assembly line. GM asks families bring only children 8 and older and all participants should wear closed-toe shoes. Long pants are recommended. Tour participants will receive a commemorative coin.

Last week, GM announced it will invest $877 million into Flint Assembly for a new body shop, general assembly area improvements, retooling and new equipment. The investment retains jobs at the facility.

Flint Assembly opened in 1947 and has produced more than 13 million vehicles including the first 300 Chevy Corvettes. The automaker is hosting the open house as a thank you as part of the company celebrating producing more than 500 million vehicles globally.

Workers at the plant build heavy-duty versions of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra and light-duty versions of the Silverado. The plant employs more than 2,800 workers; hourly employees are represented by UAW Local 598.

Other open house events include a ride and drive that will allow visitors with a valid driver’s license to try out cars, trucks and crossovers and Safe Kids Worldwide will check child seats to ensure they are properly installed. GM will show examples of how it is reducing waste in facilities and will provide examples of how GM and the Organization for Bat Conservation have worked to save bats; the organization will bring several bats to the event to educate people about their benefits. GM sponsored FIRST Robotics teams also will provide demonstrations.

Last year, a similar open house at Flint Assembly drew about 1,500 people, a GM spokesman said.

The Pontiac Metal Center, 1001 Highwood Blvd. (at the intersection of Highwood and E. Beverly), also is hosting an open house 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday that includes plant tours. Those interested in the plant tour must wear closed-toe shoes and long pants. Guests will receive protective sleeves and other protective gear at the plant.

Pontiac Metal employs about 490 workers and various parts are stamped for a variety of GM vehicles. The automaker is investing $124 million into the plant, including a new press. Fifteen new jobs are expected to be added at the facility which was among those that faced closure around GM’s bankruptcy.