GM Knows Manufacturing Matters

Given that the name of the publication that is behind this website has the word production in it—Automotive Design & Production—we’re sort of keen on when there are developments germane to that aspect of this business.

Given that the name of the publication that is behind this website has the word production in it—Automotive Design & Production—we’re sort of keen on when there are developments germane to that aspect of this business.

Which is why Tuesday’s announcement by GM chairman and CEO Dan Akerson that GM is going to be investing $2-billion in its U.S. assembly and component plants is something that we’ve been thinking about.

Last week we reported on some of that investment—the $131-million that is being used in the Bowling Green Assembly plant, home of the Corvette, for the next-gen ‘Vette.

Another large chunk of cash is being spent at the Toledo Transmission Plant: $204-million for the manufacturer of a new eight-speed transmission.

G

GM employee Coianne Avant works on the assembly line at the Toledo Transmission Plant. (Photo by John F. Martin for General Motors)

The total spend will, according to the corporation, will have the effect of “creating or preserving more than 4,000 jobs at 17 facilities in eight states.”

Those are direct jobs. Jobs in the plants. Like creating 250 additional jobs in Bowling Green. Like retaining about 250 jobs in Toledo.

But there are a whole lot of other jobs, too.

Do you think for a moment that they’re going to be making one of the most-advanced sports cars on the planet with 20th-century technology? Do you think that they’re going to be busting out the old gear shapers, hobbers and mills, all of the old tooling that they’ve had kicking around in the tool cribs at the 54-year-old tranny plant?

Fat chance.

GM is kicking up the spending for capital equipment in a big way.

In all, this means a whole lot of jobs. Jobs that will extend from the 17 factories to the local grocery stores, movie theaters, doctors’ offices, and, yes, car dealerships, just to name a few places.

There is a whole lot of talk about how small businesses are the engine that drives the economy. Drive around places where auto plants have been shut down. You’ll see a whole lot of small businesses that have been driven out of business because the big business—as in auto plants—are shuttered.

If small businesses are the engine, big businesses are the fuel.

According to the Center for Automotive Research, GM’s spending is going to have a ripple effect that will result in about $2.9-billion added to the U.S. GDP and the creation or retention of 28,000 jobs.

Yes, manufacturing matters.