General Motors is making a $7 billion investment in four new Michigan electric vehicle manufacturing plants in an effort to “be the market leader” in electric vehicles by 2025, CEO Mary Barra announced on Tuesday.
GM will co-invest $2.6 billion with LG Energy to build a new facility near Lansing, Mich. to turn out GM’s Ultium battery and engine platform — the base for a diverse array of electric pickups and SUVs.
It will also spend $4 billion to adapt an existing facility in Orion Township to turn out electric Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks, pushing GM’s total output to “about 600,000 trucks a year,” Barra said.
GM will also invest $510 million to upgrade two other Lansing-area plants “for near term projects,” Barra added.
President Biden called the deal “the latest sign that my economic strategy is helping power an historic American manufacturing comeback,” pointing to $100 billion in investment in electric vehicle manufacturing over the past year.
In total, GM expects to create 4,000 jobs — which will result in $35 billion in spillover economic opportunity over the next 20 years, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) told reporters.
“Today’s investment is proof what’s possible when we work together,” Whitmer said, emphasizing the bipartisan and public-private nature of the deal.
“We proved the doubters and the cynics wrong. We showed everyone we can compete for transformational projects. We can win billions of investment and thousands of jobs. ‘Putting the world on wheels’ was Act 1 — in the decades to come, we will electrify the world.”
Whitmer was joined by Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R) and Speaker of the House Jason Wentworth (R), who also supported the deal.
“You may have heard that Gov. Whitmer and I don’t always agree with each other,” Shirkey said. “But the economic wellbeing of our state isn’t a partisan matter. High-quality jobs don’t have a party affiliation.”
It can be “hard to wrap our heads” around figures of this magnitude, Shirkey added.
But now “families across the state will have conversations around the kitchen table that take on an entirely different tone. Instead of talking about what they can’t do, they’ll be talking about what they can do: a new home, college tuition — and yes, maybe even a new car. Maybe even one they helped build.”
Union leaders from the United Auto Workers (UAW) also touted the importance of the investment and revitalizing a region which has struggled to retain jobs.
“I always see my UAW brothers and sisters out and about, maybe at the park or a restaurant with their family,” said UAW Region 1 Director James Harris, where they’d ask him, “Do we have a future at this location? I don’t want to uproot my family.”
Now, he said, after years of urging patience, “I can say yes, you do have a future and a career. In this location. Yes, we do have a new product coming. And no, you don’t have to uproot your family and relocate. You can stay right here in Orion if that’s what you choose to live and work, and you can stay in this community,” Harris added.