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GM invests $244 million to build Equinox

Automaker reopens shuttered Saturn plant to build crossover, creating 1,900 jobs


November 22, 2011
by The Canadian Press

SPRING HILL, Tenn.—General Motors Co. (GM) will build its Chevrolet Equinox at its idled Tennessee plant.

The Detroit-based automaker says it also has plans to make a midsized vehicle at the plant in the future.

The US$244-million investment is projected to create close to 1,900 jobs at the shuttered Saturn plant outside Nashville.

GM says it will initially invest $61 million to create about 700 jobs and start production of the Equinox by the second half of 2012.

Sales of the crossover are up 45 per cent this year to more than 162,000, according to Autodata Corp.

The company will invest another $183 million to make unspecified midsized vehicles for the 2015 model year is projected to create another 1,200 jobs.

More than 2,000 workers were laid off after GM halted production of the Chevrolet Traverse at the plant in 2009.

Elected officials stressed the benefits to the local economy, while union leaders hailed the decision as a success for collective bargaining.

United Auto Workers (UAW) members in Spring Hill voted in September to ratify a four-year contract with GM after the company announced it was re-opening the plant

Under the new contract, GM can have as many entry-level, $15-an-hour workers as it wants, but after 2015 only 25 per cent of the factory workers can be paid the lower wage.