GM Adds $163-M Program to Expand Capacity for Ecotec

New round of investments targets engine plants, foundry

General Motors has outlined a new $163.2-million capital program to expand production capacity at three plants, as it prepares to increase output of its 1.4-liter Ecotec engine. Two variants of the four-cylinder aluminum engine will be produced at the Flint (Mich.) Engine Operations, which will receive most of the new investment.

The Flint plant will receive $138.3 million to help increase capacity to 1,200 engines per day by late 2012. GM’s Bay City, Mich., engine components plant will receive $12.7 million to increase output of connecting rods and camshafts, and its Defiance, O., foundry will receive $12.2 million to raise its output of engine blocks and crankshaft castings.

Series production will start early next year for the 1.4-liter four-cylinder Ecotec. Two versions of the engine — turbocharged and naturally aspirated — are produced for the Chevrolet Cruze, Cruze Eco and Volt.

Flint will commence production of 400 engines per day in early 2011 and ramp up to 800 engines per day in late 2011. The new investment will cover increases its capacity to 1,200 per day by late 2012.

GM indicated the new investments will support 184 jobs at the three plants.

“This investment is essential in ensuring we can meet the expected high demand for the Chevrolet Volt, Chevrolet Cruze and a small car that will be produced at our Orion Township facility,” stated Flint Engine Operations plant manager Kathleen Dilworth. “These three facilities will continue to play a key role in GM’s resurgence and efforts to bring to market vehicles with segment-leading fuel economy.”

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