November 22, 2011 in Business

GM restarting Tennessee plant

Former Saturn plant will build Chevy Equinox, other midsize car
Erik Schelzig Associated Press
Associated Press photo

Autoworkers cheer an announcement Monday that GM will build the Chevrolet Equinox at the Spring Hill, Tenn., plant.
(Full-size photo)

SPRING HILL, Tenn. – General Motors announced Monday it will start building the Chevrolet Equinox at its idled Tennessee plant and will also make midsized vehicles there in the future.

Monday’s announcement of a total $244 million investment over two phases is projected to create nearly 1,900 jobs at the former Saturn plant outside Nashville.

The automaker said it initially will invest $61 million and create nearly about 700 jobs to begin making the Equinox by the second half of 2012. Sales of the crossover are up 45 percent this year to more than 162,000, according to Autodata Corp.

An additional $183 million to make unspecified midsize vehicles for the 2015 model year is projected to create another 1,200 jobs. GM officials wouldn’t divulge more specifics.

“We don’t like to tip our hand to the competition,” said Cathy Clegg, GM’s vice president for labor relations.

The company said the investment in the plant will place it among the world’s most flexible auto-making facilities, allowing GM to respond to changing demand for a variety of models.

“This flexibility will mean that customers who want our best-selling products won’t have to wait,” Clegg said.

More than 2,000 workers were laid off after GM announced it would halt production of the Chevrolet Traverse at the plant in 2009.

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