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GM to invest big money in Mo., Mexico

Keywords: Tags  General Motors, assembly plant, engine plant, Ernesto M. Hernandez, Wentzville, Larry Zahner, corinna petry

CHICAGO — General Motors Co. plans to invest $691 million in its manufacturing operations in three Mexican cities, and will spend an additional $133 million to install a third stamping press at its assembly and stamping plant in Wentzville, Mo.

"GM is about to reach 78 years in Mexico, and this new investment means more employment and development opportunities for the regions of Silao, San Luis Potosí and Toluca, and more advanced technology that will benefit our customers," Ernesto M. Hernandez, president and managing director of General Motors de México S de RL de CV, said in a statement. "The quality of our employees’ work continues transcending borders, allowing us to continue attracting investment to maintain strong production of vehicles, engines and transmissions of outstanding quality for our customers around the world."

The automaker will spend $349 million at its Silao complex for a new transmission plant and a new generation of 8-speed transmissions; $211 million to expand the Toluca complex; and $131 million at San Luis Potosí to expand its next-generation transmission plant.

Separately, GM said it will build a 114,000-square-foot addition at Wentzville and install a third stamping press, which will make manufacturing more flexible. Construction will begin in July, and GM expects the press to be operational by early 2015. The Detroit-based automaker anticipates hiring 55 additional workers to staff the new line.

Wentzville makes full-size vans, the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana, and is undergoing construction and installing new tooling to manufacture the next-generation midsize pickups, the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon.

The investment adds to the $380 million GM has already spent since November 2011 to prepare the plant to build trucks. The new press will increase the plant’s capacity in stamping fenders, doors and other key components for the new pickups and full-size vans.

"Stamping parts where we assemble vehicles improves manufacturing efficiency and contributes to the high level of quality our customers deserve," GM North America manufacturing manager Larry Zahner said.

The Wentzville plant, which opened 30 years ago, employs 2,000 people on two shifts.

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