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GM to add 3rd shift, 650 jobs in Spring Hill

Melissa Burden
The Detroit News

General Motors Co. said Tuesday it plans to add a third shift and 650 jobs at its Spring Hill assembly plant, south of Nashville in Tennessee, to meet demand for hot-selling SUVs.

The Detroit automaker said the shift is expected to begin in January and jobs will begin to be filled this fall.

The plant builds the Cadillac XT5 and GMC Acadia crossovers, both of which recently launched. SUVs are in big demand among consumers and sales of the new vehicles have taken off in recent months.

“Spring Hill is demonstrating again its flexibility and agility to meet increasing customer demand for GM’s hot products,” Cathy Clegg, vice president of GM North America manufacturing and labor relations, said in a statement. “Just last month, Spring Hill quickly converted engine production to meet higher demand for full-size truck engines. Now the Spring Hill team will need to move with lightning speed to launch a third shift in vehicle assembly in only three months.”

GM says the Acadia, redesigned for the 2017 model year, is only on dealer lots for an average of 19 days. XT5 sales are increasing and in six months on the market, GM has sold nearly 22,000 in the U.S.

UAW Local 1853 President Tim Stannard, who represents hourly workers at the Spring Hill plant, said the UAW ultimately believes about 800 jobs will be added.

“It’s exciting, great news for the area,” he said. “The job market is really robust in this area.”

Stannard said the shift is being added quickly to keep up with the high demand.

“You definitely don’t want to lose any sales, so I think it’s a wise move,” he said.

The plant, which includes assembly, engine, and stamping facilities, has nearly 2,900 hourly workers and 3,265 total employees. Another 1,100 or so third-party supplier employees also work in the facility.

Spring Hill opened in 1990 as the Saturn plant and made Saturn vehicles until March 2007. It produced the Chevrolet Traverse from September 2008 until November 2009, when assembly production was idled and some 2,000 workers lost their jobs. GM restarted assembly production, building the Chevrolet Equinox from September 2012 to October 2014.

Since 2010, GM has announced more than $2 billion in investment for the facility including a $148 million investment to reuse machining and assembly equipment to build 6.2-liter V-8 engines for trucks. The facility also recently broke ground to expand its engine plant, part of a nearly $789 million investment announced in April. That engine investment is expected to create another 792 new jobs.

GM said interested applicants can learn more about the assembly jobs and apply at gm.appone.com.

mburden@detroitnews.com