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GM invests $US60m in US engine plant

Job security: Further investment at the Duramax diesel engine production at the DMAX plant in Dayton, Ohio, shores up the jobs of approximately 500 workers.

GM-Isuzu to upgrade JV diesel engine factory to meet future standards, secure jobs

General Motors logo6 Feb 2014

GENERAL Motors has again underscored its manufacturing commitment to its home market with the announcement that it will invest $US60 million ($A66.85m) with joint-venture partner Isuzu to upgrade its diesel engine plant in Ohio.

According to GM, the facility will be upgraded to meet future diesel emissions standards for the heavy truck engines produced there, and will secure the circa-500 jobs at the factory.

The so-called DMAX joint-venture operation currently churns out the thumping 296kW/1037Nm 6.6-litre V8 common-rail turbo-diesel used in the vehicles such as the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra heavy-duty pick-up trucks, and the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana full-size vans.

GM North America manufacturing manager Christine Sitek described the move as a demonstration of the company’s commitment to “continuously invest in technologies that reduce the impact of our vehicles on the environment, while maintaining performance attributes required by customers in the areas of towing and hauling loads”.

Known as DMAX, the joint-venture facility has produced almost 1.6 million engines since opening in 2000. GM owns 60 per cent of the venture, with Isuzu taking up the rest.

GM says it has invested $US760 million in the plant since 2000.

In Australia, the company is preparing to close its Port Melbourne V6 petrol engine plant by the end of 2016, with 1300 jobs in Victoria to go.

As previously reported, GM also announced in December – just a week after revealing that it would close down its manufacturing operations in Australia – that it was investing almost $US1.3 billion in five manufacturing sites in the US to produce new fuel-efficient engines and transmissions, and to “enhance vehicle quality and streamline logistics”.

GM said these investments will create or retain about 1000 jobs, keeping the workforce in its US manufacturing operations at around 26,500 employees.

In 2013, the US auto giant committed $US2.8 billion to its domestic operations, pushing its investment total since 2009 past $US10 billion.

“GM is committed to a strong American manufacturing base and creating jobs in dozens of communities throughout the country. Today’s announced plant upgrades continue the momentum of a resurgent auto industry,” said GM executive vice-president (and former Holden chairman) Mark Reuss.

“More importantly, these investments add up to higher quality and more fuel-efficient vehicles for our customers.”

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