GM Reallocating $245M Investment, New Crossover Production to Fairfax Assembly
General Motors on Monday confirmed that $245 million originally set aside to upgrade the Orion Assembly plant near Detroit will instead by invested in Fairfax Assembly in Kansas City, Kansas. This will also result in production of an as-yet-unnamed small SUV being moved to Fairfax, further leaving the future of production at Orion uncertain.
The investment was announced for Orion last June, and it was originally surmised by many to help support production of a new small crossover for Cadillac. The announcement of an additional 300 jobs was a particular boon for Orion, coming only days after GM announced job cuts resulting from slowing production of the Chevrolet Sonic and Buick Verano.
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GM did not confirm which vehicle would now be brought to Fairfax Assembly, but spokeswoman Dayna Hart told Detroit Free Press that the move is “part of our ongoing product allocation process to build vehicles as cost-effectively as possible to benefit our customers and the business.” Workers at Orion were informed of the switch in January, per the spokeswoman.
While production of the new Chevy Bolt EV is getting ready to kick off at Orion later this year, Luis Rocha, president of UAW Local 5960, told Freep that the expectation is that Verano production will be phased out in the fall.
“Our one shift is staying pretty busy with all the preparation for the Bolt,” Rocha said. “We’re working two Saturdays on and two Saturdays off right now. We’re staying optimistic that something else will be coming our way sometime soon.”
GM’s previous investment in Fairfax Assembly came last year, with $174 being devoted to equipment and technology necessary to test the handling of the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu. Fairfax is also responsible for producing the 2016 Buick LaCrosse, and will presumably be handling duties for the next-gen model.
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News Source: Detroit Free Press