GM's Romulus plant to get $20 million upgrade
General Motors Co.'s engine plant in Romulus is the latest to get a multi-million-dollar cash injection.
The automaker said Tuesday it would spend $20 million at its GM Propulsion plant on Ecorse Road to buy new machines to increase production of 10-speed transmissions. It comes a day after GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra stopped at the company's Lansing Delta Assembly plant to announce a planned $36 million investment to fund production of popular crossover vehicles.
The cash infusions are the latest in a string of plant upgrades announced this year, and come as GM prepares to pull products and effectively idle four plants in the U.S. and one in Canada where unprofitable vehicles are built.
Like Monday's investment in Lansing, the Romulus money goes toward increasing production for some of the company's most-profitable vehicles. The automaker builds V-6 engines and 10-speed transmissions in Romulus for various GM cars, trucks and crossovers.
GM opened the Romulus plant in 1976, and has built multiple engine and transmission components there. The plants GM plans to idle this year mostly build sedans or small cars, though its plant in Baltimore builds pickup transmissions. The automaker has job openings around the country for all but 100 of the 2,800 factory workers at the plants that will be idled, though those jobs aren't always nearby. In the meantime, the automaker this month began laying off 4,250 salaried employees.
GM will pull production from its Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant starting March 1. Its Lordstown Complex is expected to go down around that same time. The Baltimore operations will idle April 1, and Warren Transmission will go down Aug. 1, according to the company. GM's plant in Oshawa, Ontario, is expected to go down in the fourth quarter of this year.
Barra said Monday that the salaried layoffs were "largely completed," and the company is moving forward now.
"It's about making sure people understood why we made the difficult decisions, and now moving forward," she said. "And that's what everybody's committed to do."
GM is continuing to "explore options" for its Lordstown plant, Barra said Monday, though the automaker is moving forward with plans to "unallocate" product from the facility in early March.