Wednesday, July 15, 2015

GM details $1.4B in upgrades to Arlington SUV plant

A $1.4 billion overhaul will expand General Motors Corp.'s (NYSE: GM) Arlington plant to nearly 4.5 times its size when it opened 61 years ago.
The project will add 1.2 million square feet to the factory’s 4.375 million square feet across 250 acres. The facility will also be outfitted with new equipment, machinery and tools, as well as training for the 4,100 employees who create 280,270 Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade SUVs each year.
With the overhaul, GM will also reconfigure the plant with new paint and body shops and an assembly area.  
Construction will begin this summer and span three years, said Cathy Clegg, vice president of GM North America Manufacturing and Labor Relations.
“We know that we have to offer products that are nothing short of outstanding,” Clegg said at a Tuesday event at the Arlington plant. “Few customers are more discerning than our truck and SUV customers, and few are more loyal. That’s why it’s so crucial that we keep this facility running on all cylinders.”
In a recorded speech, Governor Gregg Abbott congratulated GM on its continued expansion in DFW.
“Your Texas-sized investment … is one of the largest single investments that GM has made in the United States for a manufacturing facility,” Abbott said. “This expansion is a testament to the continued strength of the Texas economy as well as GM’s confidence in Texas’ work-ready job force.”
With its latest upgrade, GM has invested nearly $2 billion in manufacturing improvements at the Arlington plant, the largest automotive manufacturing plant in Texas.  

In April, GM announced but did not elaborate on plans to invest more than $1 billion in the 61-year-old plant. Development of the project will encompass 600 jobs, $1 billion in equipment and $300 million in construction costs, the company said at the time.   
Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams said the upgrades represent the city’s largest investment to date. In exchange, GM received the second-largest incentive package in Arlington’s history, worth $30 million to be paid out over 10 years.
“When you invest in economic development, and when you invest in General Motors, you’re going to see a great return,” Williams said. “We’re looking forward to many other significant investments. This is going to be a catalyst for great things to happen in Arlington.”
GM’s incentives are second only to the $325 million package offered for the construction of AT&T Stadium. They are nearly double the $15.25 million incentive offered to Toyota by Plano City Council. But Toyota also received $40 million from the state, whereas GM did not apply for state incentives.
Under GM's incentive agreement, the automaker must employ 3,179 workers. The factory, which produces 1,200 full-sized SUVs a day, currently employs 4,100.
“They have consistently overperformed in the agreements that we set with them,” Bruce Payne, Arlington’s economic development manager, said in May.   
Korri Kezar/ Dallas Business Jorunal