CHICAGO General Motors Co. plans to invest $600 million at its Fairfax Assembly and Stamping Plant in Kansas City, Kan., including the construction of a 450,000-square-foot paint shop, installation of a stamping press and other upgrades.
Vehicle production schedules will be unaffected by the construction, keeping the plants three shifts of nearly 4,000 hourly and salaried employees on the job. The factory makes the Chevrolet Malibu and Buick LaCrosse models.
Constructionwhich is set to begin later this year and should take two years to completewill increase the footprint of the plant by about 15 percent to 3.7 million square feet.
The new paint shop will feature new tooling, robots, and environmental and efficiency enhancements. In the stamping facility, the upgraded AA3X press will replace the current middle press used to create structural reinforcements for vehicle body frames. The upgraded press is expected to enhance quality and reduce waste.
The original Fairfax Assembly Plant, which opened during World War II, was the first industrial facility to make automobiles and jet fighters in the same building. The current plant opened in 1987. Fairfax produced 283,213 vehicles in 2012.
In early January, Detroit-based GM said it would invest $1.5 billion in North American plants this year, and the Fairfax capital project makes up part of that commitment (amm.com, Jan. 17