General Motors officials announced Thursday they plan to invest about $24 million in the company’s Fort Wayne assembly plant. The facility is benefitting from the company’s push to make and sell more trucks, while other locations across North America have been shut down.
The money will support GM’s increased production of crew cab pickup trucks, including the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra.
Last year General Motors announced layoffs as the company restructured its focus from less profitable cars to heavier-duty and electric vehicles with the company motto, "Zero Crashes, Zero Emissions, Zero Congestion." But CEO Mary Barra sought to position the company as one that’s out-investing its competitors.
“In the past decade alone, we have invested $23 billion in facilities in the United States, more than any other automaker in that time frame,” says Barra.
She says the facility has produced more than 8.8 million trucks since it opened in 1986. Barra adds that the trucks that come out of the Fort Wayne plant will be a part of the company’s shift towards the future for automotive vehicles.
“Our new trucks are leaner, safer, smarter and more efficient and one step closer to that future we’re working hard to create,” says Barra.
UAW Local 2209 shop chairman Rich LeTourneau says demand for trucks has helped those working at the northeastern Indiana plant.
“The truck business continues to move forward where in some cases the profitability margin is not there in the car industries,” says LeTourneau. “For those of us involved in the truck group, we’re happy that we’re in the truck group.”
LeTourneau says the money will go towards improving portions of the production line such as the paint and body stations.
Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry praised GM for it’s commitment to the city. He says for a community to have economic success, the jobs brought into the area must be competitive.
"If you don't have an economic base that pays well, that offers those who work for you a benefit package that would help them continue to offer quality of life to their family, then I'm not sure you offer anything really to the bottom line of any community,” says Henry.
With the new announcement, the Fort Wayne plant will have received about $1.2 billion in investment from the company since 2015. No additional jobs at the plant were announced at the event.