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GM tips $US1.3bn into US car-making

Financial pick-up: GM will pour $US1.3 billion into US operations, including its Flint plant that builds pick-ups.

New 10-speed gearbox, fuel-efficient V6 front GM’s latest spending spree

General Motors logo17 Dec 2013

By BARRY PARK

A WEEK after saying it would close down its Australian car-making business, General Motors has announced a $US1.3 billion ($A1.45 billion) investment in its US businesses.

GM announced overnight that it would pour $US600 million into a paint shop at its Flint plant that builds pick-up trucks, almost $US500 million at its Romulus plant to make a new automatic transmission, and more than $US120 million at its Hamtramck plant that builds the Chevrolet-badged version of the Holden Volt sold in Australia, and the Malibu and Impala.

According to GM, the investment would help save the jobs of about 1000 car industry workers.

The car-maker said the investment would also support production of a new V6 engine, a fuel-saving 10-speed transmission, and help to increase the production of an existing six-speed transmission as well as prepare for a new one.

Since its bail-out by the US government after it declared bankruptcy at the height of the 2008 global credit crunch, GM said it had invested about $US10 billion in its North American business.

“GM is committed to a strong American manufacturing base and creating jobs in dozens of communities throughout the country,” Mark Reuss, the former managing director of Holden who now heads up the car-maker’s North American division, said in a statement.

“Today’s announced plant upgrades continue the momentum of a resurgent auto industry.

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

Holden had been seeking up to $1 billion in investment from its US parent to keep making cars in Australia beyond its current-generation Cruze and Commodore passenger car line-up.

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