GM Reports New Investments in Powertrain Plants

$129 million for start/stop technology at Ohio, Indiana, Michigan sites

General Motors Corp. continues to offer details of its $2-billion investment program for 17 plants, first outlined in May. The latest information concerns a total of $129 million for three GM Powertrain plants to manufacture transmissions for Buick and Chevrolet models with its eAssist start/stop system.

eAssist uses a lithium-ion battery and an electric motor-generator to enable regenerative braking capability, thus to improve fuel economy by 25% compared to the four-cylinder/six-speed powertrain it will replace on many GM 2012 models, according to GM’s estimates. The system will be a standard feature on the 2012 Buick LaCrosse with a four-cylinder engine.

Among the locations to receive the new investment will be the Toledo, Ohio, engine plant. It is in line now for $83 million to manufacture six-speed transmissions, which will be used in the Buick Lacrosse luxury sedan beginning this fall and the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu sedan that launches early next year.

Previously, Toledo was awarded $204 million of new capital investment to produce a new eight-speed automatic transmission.

The Bedford, Ind., plant will receive an investment of $32 million to produce aluminum diecastings for case and torque converters, for a six-speed transmission that’s assembled in Toledo. Earlier the Bedford plant was awarded $49 million for new new tooling and equipment to produce components for the eight-speed transmission, as well as for a small engine product to be announced sometime in the future.

The automaker also announced projects totaling $15 million to $20 million at the GM Components Holding plant in Wyoming, Mich., in support of various powertrain projects.

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