General Motors Co. says it will invest $37 million into its Bay City, MI, powertrain facility to build camshafts and connecting rods for a pair of 4-cyl. engines going into the auto maker’s upcoming Chevrolet Cruze compact car and Chevy Volt extended-range electric vehicle.

GM says it expects renovation of some 34,000 sq.-ft. (3,159 sq.-m) of existing floor space and installation of equipment to begin in mid-September. Production will begin in the fourth quarter of 2010.

The ’11 Chevy Cruze, an upscale global compact car due in the U.S. in mid-2010 from GM’s Lordstown, OH, assembly plant, receives a turbocharged version of the auto maker’s newly developed 1.4L 4-cyl. engine. The ’11 Chevy Volt, due in late 2010 from GM’s Hamtramck, MI, assembly plant, gets a naturally aspirated version of the same engine but uses it only as a backup for its electric propulsion powertrain.

GM will build the engines in nearby Flint, MI, but prior to entering bankruptcy decided against constructing a new $370 million, 552,000-sq.-ft. (51,282-sq.-m) engine plant for its production and instead will use existing floor space on its campus there.

A 50-year exemption on property taxes from Bay City helps secure the investment, announced today at the plant located 115 miles (185 km) north of Detroit.

Bay City powertrain has been in operation as a GM facility since 1918. It employs 264 hourly and 51 salaried workers, and makes components for a host GM transmissions and engines.

Today’s announcement represents another step in bringing the highly anticipated Volt to market. Earlier this month, GM President and CEO Fritz Henderson opened a 160,000-sq.-ft. (14,864-sq.-m) plant south of Detroit where the auto maker will assemble battery packs for the car starting next year.

GM already has begun building a version of the Chevy Cruze at its GM Daewoo Auto and Technology Co. venture in South Korea for export to international markets.