General Motors Company will spend $483 million and add 483 jobs building current- and next-generation Ecotec four-cylinder engines at its powertrain complex in Spring Hill, Tenn., assuming successful incentive negotiations with local and state officials, GM North America president Mark Reuss said on September 17.
The additional work would bring to almost $2.9 billion the amount of new U.S. investment and 7,417 jobs that GM has created or retained in 20 U.S. plants since emerging from bankruptcy in July 2009. Employees to fill these positions will be recalled from layoff in accordance with the United Auto Workers-GM National Labor agreement.
“The engines made in Spring Hill will drive the success of GM to meet our customer demands for advanced powertrains which offer high fuel economy without sacrificing performance," Reuss said. “This new commitment to the Spring Hill team will help GM almost triple its North American production volume of four-cylinder engines with direct injection by 2012."
The spending announced September 17 includes $23 million that would add 30 hourly jobs to increase production beginning in the first quarter of 2011 of the current-generation Ecotec engine used in popular products like the Chevrolet Equinox, Buick LaCrosse and GMC Terrain.
"We applaud GM's decision to invest in the Spring Hill workforce represented by UAW Local 1853. Our members have proven time and again that they are capable of building high-quality, world-class products that are competitive with anyone in the industry,” said Joe Ashton, United Auto Workers vice president of the GM Department. “We want to be a positive force for putting America back to work. These jobs are important not only to the Spring Hill area, but throughout the region as well. Our union will work hard to ensure that there will be more good news for GM that in turn will be good news for the UAW."
Currently, the Spring Hill Powertrain Plant produces three variants of the Ecotec engine: The award-winning Ecotec 2.4L with direct injection (DI) is found in the Equinox, Terrain, LaCrosse, Buick Regal, Chevrolet Captiva (Mexico) and Daewoo Alpheon (Korea). The Ecotec 2.0L DI Turbo is used in models of the Opel Insignia (Europe), Buick LaCrosse (China), and Regal. The Ecotec 2.4L Multiport Fuel Injection engines are shipped to Korea for the Captiva and Antara.
The bulk of the investment -- $460 million and 453 hourly and salaried jobs – is planned for the next-generation Ecotec engines.
“Both of these investments highlight the confidence the company has in the work force in Spring Hill to produce outstanding quality engines for our products of today and tomorrow,” Reuss said, adding that the investments have no bearing on the Spring Hill Assembly Plant, which remains on stand-by status should more vehicle production capacity be needed.
The additional Spring Hill powertrain production follows announcements in February of $494 million for additional capacity at GM plants in Tonawanda, NY, Defiance, Ohio; and Bay City, Mich. Those projects are expected to result in about 550 jobs.
The investment in state-of-the-art four-cylinder engines is another example of GM’s commitment to replace larger-displacement engines with more compact, advanced four-cylinder engines that optimize fuel savings and performance. The next generation Ecotec engine is an integral part of GM transforming its product portfolio to reduce fuel consumption and emissions.
The Ecotec engine family is known for its reliability, fuel efficiency and performance. GM Ecotec engines have been on the forefront of delivering leading-edge technology including direct injection, variable valve timing and turbocharging. Direct fuel injection, a hallmark of many Ecotec engines since 2007, is now becoming mainstream technology in the industry.
The current Ecotec 2.4L with direct injection and variable valve timing was recognized as a Ward’s Auto World magazine’s 2010 “Ten Best Engine” for North America based on power, fuel efficiency, new technology and other factors. The Ecotec is available in 2.0L, 2.2L and 2.4L displacements.
Next-generation Ecotec engines will have additional capabilities to improve fuel efficiency, reduce noise and vibration and improve performance through advanced design and analysis techniques, controls and by adding technology. For competitive reasons, specifics about the engine capabilities as well as product applications will be shared at a later date.