says today it will invest another $167 million at its Spring Hill, TN, manufacturing complex to accommodate production of more new models, bringing planned investment at the site to $350 million.
The auto maker previously earmarked $183 million for Spring Hill to support production of what it calls “a future midsize vehicle program.” Today, GM adds a $40 million outlay to that project, which it expects will create or retain about 1,000 jobs.
An extra $127 million investment will cover a second midsize-vehicle program, GM says, and create or retain 800 jobs.
GM does not specifically identify the new products, although a WardsAuto forecast shows the auto maker adding production of the Cadillac SRX 5-passenger luxury cross/utility vehicle and GMC Acadia 7-passenger CUV to the site in 2016. The forecast indicates production of the Chevrolet Equinox 5-passenger CUV will cease in 2017.
GM does not share a timetable for the investments, saying additional details will be revealed closer to the start of production. The auto maker does say the money will add to existing operations at the site, which already include vehicle assembly, stamping, engine and component parts production.
The investment likely reflects GM’s bullishness on the CUV segment, which has averaged 24% of U.S. light-vehicle output over the past five years, and is running at 25% of LV sales in 2013 through July according to WardsAuto data.
Meanwhile at GM, CUVs have average 24.35% of LV sales over the past five years, and are running at 25.8% of GM’s 2013 LV sales through July.
The 6.9 million-sq.-ft. (641,000-sq.-m) facility, which GM built in 1990 as a fully integrated complex to produce vehicles and powertrains for its now-defunct Saturn brand, currently is supplementing Canadian output of the popular Equinox CUV.
Its engine production includes all-new 4-cyl. Ecotec mills used in a wide variety of GM cars and CUVs in North American and Europe.
The plant presently employs about 2,000 people.
Spring Hill has witnessed some topsy-turvy days since GM’s restructuring. Its assembly line shut down in 2007 ahead of the elimination of the Saturn brand and spent one year retooling to make the Chevy Traverse large CUV, a sister vehicle to the Acadia.
Production of the Traverse began in 2009, but Spring Hill was idled again later in the year when GM moved Traverse production to Michigan.
Vehicle assembly at the plant regained life in 2011 when GM announced it would receive the future midsize-vehicle and last year started building the Equinox and an all-new 2.5L 4-cyl. engine.