Yesterday General Motors announced it is investing $245 million in a “new vehicle program” at its Orion Township plant where the Chevy Bolt will be produced but this is not to be confused as monies for the Bolt.
Rather, said plant representative Chris Bonelli in a phone interview today, the automaker is preparing 300 jobs and a new assembly line for an all-new car “unlike any in the plant’s 32-year history.”
Bonelli clarified that $160 million has already been invested in Orion for the Bolt – and where the Chevrolet Sonic and Buick Verano are also built – so this new higher dollar amount investment is only for the car yet to be identified.
The automaker for now is not revealing if it will be electrified, but hopes are already running high for news-snooping readers on enthusiasts’ forums, and elsewhere.
They may have to wait, however. Bonelli said not even the brand of the car will be divulged at this point, nor type of vehicle, nor any other pertinent details, and the time frame for its production he said GM is quoting as 3-4 years out.
Such a quote might be interpreted as sandbagging, given the advanced Bolt is believed due by 2017, although GM is not confirming this either, stating Bolt production time lines reported are only rumors.
If GM’s new “Vehicle Program” requires 3-4 years from now to be up and running, it could also mean the mystery vehicle is in the early stages of development or the automaker is awaiting technological development, or reduction of costs or other factors. This of course is all unknown, and for its part GM is saying nothing more than it’s unprecedented at Orion.
“Orion Assembly is a breeding ground for manufacturing innovation,” said Cathy Clegg, GM North America vice president of Manufacturing and Labor Relations in a statement. “It serves as a model for how to engage the entire workforce at all levels to achieve success. The plant is up to the challenge of building this brand-new product, something it’s never seen before.”
The automaker says 300 jobs will be supported to the plant still rejuvenating after $962 million was invested to reopen it in 2010 after its being idled. The latest infusion of capital also is part of $5.4 billion GM will invest over the next three years in its operations.
“Approximately $3.1 billion of the $5.4 billion has been identified, leaving $2.3 billion to be announced by year end,” said the automaker in its statement.
When the new car to be built alongside the Bolt is announced was not stated.