General Motors Corp. will spend $44 million to upgrade its Bedford (IN) Foundry to produce transmission cases and converter housings for 6-speed automatics.

The investment will go toward plant renovation and installation of new die-casting equipment that includes an automated (robotic) casting processing cell for each machine, GM says.

Construction is to begin immediately, with machinery installation to get under way in June 2008. GM is targeting full production to be reached in December 2009.

The new money brings the auto maker's total investment in the Bedford facility during the past year to $114 million. The latest outlay will retain about 100 production jobs, GM says.

The investment follows successful negotiation of competitive operating agreements with the United Auto Workers and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union locals.

The 64-year-old Bedford Foundry currently employs 544 hourly and 115 salaried workers and produces aluminum castings for GM's 4- and 6-speed transmissions; pistons for its 4.8L and 5.3L V-8 engines; and engine blocks for the 4.6L Northstar V-8. It manufactures 10,000 transmission cases and converter housings, 34,000 pistons and 350 engine blocks daily.