General Motors Co. announced Jan. 28 it plans to construct a new paint shop and install a new stamping press as part of a $600 million investment at its Fairfax Assembly and Stamping Plant in Kansas City, KS, the Detroit News recently reported.
The new upgrades aren’t expected to create any new jobs, but will retain nearly 4,000, GM said. The automaker says this will be one of its largest plant investments ever.
“This major investment is a vote of confidence in the employees and leadership of this plant and will allow them to continue producing beautiful, world-class vehicles like the Chevrolet Malibu and Buick LaCrosse— with the same quality workmanship that has defined the Fairfax complex for nearly 70 years,” said GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson.
“If we execute our plans flawlessly, before long, GM will become the world’s most valuable automotive company,” Akerson said. “We will be globally recognized as a great place to work. And we will have the most loyal and enthusiastic owner-advocates in the industry. That’s how we’ll keep the momentum going—make truly GM great once again. Let’s make this our legacy. It will be unmatched in the history of General Motors.”
The automaker builds the Chevy Malibu and Buick LaCrosse at Fairfax, employing 3,877 workers.
GM has already invested nearly $1.9 billion into Fairfax over the past 10 years, including $722 million in 2003 for the Malibu, and $651 million in 2006 for the launch of the Saturn Aura. Recent investments have been smaller, including $20 million in 2011 to invest in eAssist technology for the Buick LaCrosse.
Work at the Fairfax plant was halted all of December and into early January. Some U.S. GM plants were idled for additional time around the holiday shutdown to help GM reduce inventory of certain vehicles.
Construction on Fairfax's new, 450,000-square-foot paint shop— which includes new tooling, robots and environmental and energy efficiency gains—begins later this year and should take two years to complete. The company said production won’t be affected by construction. The plant runs three shifts.