We Hear: GM May Expand ATS/CTS Plant for Next-Gen Camaro
A new report from The Detroit News reveals that General Motors will invest up to $38 million to expand its Lansing Grand River Assembly Plant. The expansion would allow the plant to build the next-generation Chevrolet Camaro. GM has reportedly already asked the city of Lansing, Michigan, for a tax abatement for its expansion.
GM announced in December that production of the Chevrolet Camaro will move from Oshawa, Ontario, to Lansing when the car switches to its next generation — likely late 2015 or early 2016. That’s because the new Camaro will almost certainly be based on the same “Alpha” chassis architecture used for the 2013 Cadillac ATS sports sedan, which is built in Lansing. (The current Camaro, pictured, is based on GM’s Zeta platform.) The Grand River Assembly Plant also currently builds the Cadillac CTS, which will likewise switch to the Alpha platform for its next generation.
In a press release, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero said GM planned to spend $38 million to expand the plant and would add about 150 new jobs. Construction could begin as soon as this July and would be completed by 2015. “Our hometown car company is hoping to grow their operations right here in Lansing and we in city government will roll out the red carpet instead of the red tape to help make it happen,” Mayor Bernero said in the statement.
The refreshed 2014 Chevrolet Camaro debuts at the New York auto show later this month.
Lansing Grand River Assembly currently employs 1643 people. In 2012, it built 48,247 units of the CTS and 26,278 units of the ATS. Chevrolet sold 84,391 Camaros in the U.S. last year, so moving the car’s production to Lansing would essentially double the plant’s current production volume.
In an emailed statement, GM said it is, “Developing a business case for a potential future investment at LGR Assembly. An investment would fund facility improvements aimed at strengthening the plant’s manufacturing capability. We cannot share details at this time.”
The Canadian Auto Workers previously criticized GM’s plans to move the Camaro from Oshawa to Lansing. In a December 2012 press release, the union said it was, “reacting in anger and frustration” and demanded that GM added a new vehicle of equal production volume in Oshawa. Last year, the Oshawa plant built 99,883 units of the Chevrolet Camaro — a big hole that GM would struggle to fill by adding a different vehicle.
Sources: The Detroit News, GM, Office of Mayor Virg Bernero
By Jake Holmes