General Motors says it will spend $200 million on its Arlington, TX, assembly complex to build an all-new stamping facility at the site for its next-generation large SUVs.

The investment in the new stamping facility, which the auto maker expects to bring on line in 2013, comes on top of a previously announced $331 million pledge for tooling and equipment at Arlington for the new SUVs.

The Arlington complex currently serves as the sole source of GM’s large SUVs, such as the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon, after the auto maker idled its plant in Janesville, WI, as part of a manufacturing-capacity reduction following its 2009 bankruptcy.

GM says locating stamping work at the Arlington complex will save $40 million annually in logistics costs, because the large parts currently are being shipped from sites as far away as 1,000 miles (1,600 km).

The stamping investment will create about 180 jobs, giving Arlington some 300 total new jobs since the auto maker first confirmed last year it was keeping the new SUVs at the complex.

“Today’s announcement is further evidence that the U.S. auto industry is back,” says Joe Ashton, vice president-GM Department at the United Auto Workers union.

Reports out of Texas indicate the auto maker received a local tax break of $1.2 million annually over 10 years in exchange for the investments.

GM sites previously stamping parts for the large SUVs will continue operating, but perform different work.

Installation of new tooling and construction of the Arlington body shop already has begun.

 

GM said earlier it would be taking down its three U.S. large SUV and pickup assembly plants in staggered periods this year to change over for production of the next-generation models, due out in 2013.

Although the light-truck segment has shrunk in recent years, large pickups and SUVs continue to be profitable products for GM. Last year, the auto maker sold 779,230 light trucks, according to WardsAuto data.

Since emerging from its 2009 bankruptcy, GM has invested $6.9 billion in its U.S. operations across 12 states, creating or retaining 17,600 jobs.

jamend@wardsauto.com