GM to pour $300 million into Flint assembly plant, sources say
DETROIT — General Motors intends to announce on Monday a few hundred new or preserved jobs and more than $300 million worth of updates at its Flint, Mich., assembly plant, people familiar with the planning said. The moves come as the automaker prepares for next-generation full-sized pickups, expected in 2013.
Some of the factory updates are already in process. For instance, the plant's shutdown during the first two weeks of July allowed some of the work to be done, the people said. Still, the plant will likely close for about eight weeks next year to prepare to build the new Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra.
GM spokesman Tom Wickham declined to comment. GM has planned "a positive news announcement" for Monday morning at the Flint factory, according to a media advisory.
GM has already decided to add a third shift worth about 750 jobs to the Flint factory this year, with the positions going to transfers and laid-off workers. The automaker also said this spring it would add a total of about 4,000 jobs in eight states as U.S. consumer demand for cars and trucks continues to grow. GM has already announced the bulk of those jobs, including 2,500 new jobs at its Detroit-Hamtramck factory.
GM's burgeoning pickup inventory has worried analysts this year, even before Flint's third shift has started building trucks. The automaker ended June with a 122-day supply, and GM says it wants to trim that to 100 to 110 days' worth. That's still well beyond analysts' typical recommendations.
Mark Reuss, president of GM North America, has told the Detroit Free Press that GM plans to trim production as truck inventories increase. But GM is comfortable building inventories in the coming years, he said, so it doesn't run short when it transitions to the next-generation pickups.
The Flint factory is still waiting for GM to green-light a plan to spend $417 million to build a new paint shop for the truck plant by June 2015, which would allow the factory to become more productive and could require the plant to add a few more workers. The Michigan Economic Growth Authority last month approved state tax credits for that proposal.