General Motors Company (NYSE: GM) will convert its Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant into its first all-electric vehicle plant. The factory will begin production on electric pickups and the Cruise Origin, a self-driving EV, in 2021 following a $2.2 billion retooling.
"This will be General Motors' most technically advanced assembly plant," GM President Mark Reuss said in a news conference this week. "...We are committed to make sure Michigan remains at the epicenter of the auto industry.”
The company also announced an $800 million investment in supplier tooling and projects supporting electric trucks.
Why It’s Important
The investments position GM to seize a share of an emerging market sought by Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F), Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) and others. Concurrent with GM’s plant announcement, it declared itself the first full-line automaker to produce and fully integrate battery cells. The news builds off last week’s unveiling of an autonomous vehicle for GM’s ride-sharing fleet.
"We have to plan for that adoption and that EV portfolio to become standard now," Reuss said.
The investment also demonstrates GM’s responsiveness to union pressure.
"The UAW leadership made the investment in this plant a huge priority at the bargaining table,” Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said. “They never wavered in their commitment to get the reinvestment in Detroit."
The repurposed plant will employ 2,200 workers and begin to correct the union-protested jobs loss from previous plant closures. The UAW lauded GM’s Hamtramck decision, marking a key milestone in conflict resolution after the company suffered the longest auto workers’ strike in 50 years last fall.
The Hamtramck plant will idle for 18 months beginning Feb. 28. This will result in the transfer or termination of 814 hourly and salaried employees.
"Any future people movement at Detroit-Hamtramck would be determined by the terms of the UAW national contract," GM spokesman Dan Flores told the Detroit Free Press.