General Motors of Canada Ltd. today announces it will invest C$245 million ($233 million) in its St. Catharines, ON, Canada, plant to accommodate production of a new fuel-efficient 6-speed transmission beginning in 2012.

The factory will supply the transmission, based on GM’s current Hydra-matic 6T40/45, for use in the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain cross/utility vehicles, as well as the Buick Regal sedan.

The outlay already was planned but is being pulled ahead four months.

“Strong customer demand for our new vehicles is driving improved financial results and the rapid capacity expansion under way,” Kevin Williams, president of GM Canada, says in a statement.

The St. Catharines facility also was the beneficiary of a recently announced C$235 million ($224 million) investment made to support production of a next-generation engine production beginning in 2012.

Together, the investments are expected to create some 800 jobs at the plant.