Monday, January 28, 2013

General Motors announces $600 million investment in KCK plant


In a sign that the "tide is turning" in the automobile industry, General Motors Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson announced a $600 million investment into the Kansas City, Kan., GM plant.

Leading the way in the investment plans is a new 450,000 square-foot paint-shop and a new stamping press. The investments will help retain nearly 4,000 jobs at the plant, Akerson said.

"Fairfax has always been part of the rich fabric in the history of General Motors," Akerson said. "It's an honor to be part of this team."

With the $600 million investment included, the company will have invested over $2.5 billion into the KCK plant over the past decade. The plant currently employs 3,877 individuals.

The paint-shop, stamping press and other improvements will help improve the quality of products made at GM - and will help reduce energy costs.

"This paint-shop won't be the best in North America," Akerson said. "It will be the best one we have globally. The new technology will allow us to reduce energy costs by 50 percent. It will be one of our most modern plants around the world."

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback was on hand for the announcement. He said the investment is a sign that manufacturing is coming back to the United States.

"This is a fabulous day for us," Brownback said. "Manufacturing is coming back to the United States. We have an excellent workforce here."

Brownback said he currently drives the Chevrolet Malibu, one of the vehicles produced at the plant. The Buick LaCrosse is also built in KCK - and both vehicles have won national awards in terms of quality.

Out-going Unified Government Mayor/CEO Joe Reardon has been a part of several big announcements at the GM Fairfax plant.

In what likely will be his last as mayor of Wyandotte County, Reardon said the investment symbolized what the local government has tried to do with businesses during his time as mayor.

"We take pride in our public and private partnerships in Wyandotte County," Reardon said.

The Fairfax plant opened in KCK in 1987. Since then, 12 million vehicles have been produced locally in KCK.