Tags: GM | Volt | Chevrolet | Michigan

GM to Relocate Volt Drive, Invest $300 Million in Michigan

Tuesday, 28 October 2014 01:36 PM

General Motors Co. will move production of the electric drive unit for the next-generation Chevrolet Volt to Michigan from Mexico and plans to announce almost $300 million in investment in the state this year.

The automaker will build the electric drive in Warren, Michigan, the company said in a statement. GM Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra discussed the investments and the Volt as part of a speech Tuesday to members of the Detroit Economic Club. GM said it has so far invested about $1.82 billion in projects in the state dedicated to vehicle electrification.

Barra, who took over as the first female CEO of a major automaker in mid-January, is relying on investment in new models to meet 2016 profit goals. She’s also working to shake off the overhang of $2.7 billion in recall costs so far this year for a defect linked to 30 deaths. The electric drive unit announcement by the Detroit-based company comes as Volt sales have slipped this year, while Nissan Motor Co.’s Leaf and Toyota Motor Corp.’s plug-in Prius have been gaining sales.

“The scorecard on the first-generation Volt is good, but not everything we wanted,” Barra said, in a text released before the speech. “We sold fewer than we expected. But, again, we have learned so much, including that breakthrough technology doesn’t always advance in a straight line.”

Volt Sales

Since emerging from a $49.5 billion government-backed bankruptcy in 2009, GM has announced investments of more than $11 billion in the U.S., with almost half committed in Michigan.

The Volt, which started sales in 2010 and is assembled in a Hamtramck, Michigan, factory with a sibling Cadillac ELR variant, is a plug-in electric vehicle. After charging at a home outlet, it can run on electric-only mode and then switch to power from a small gasoline engine after the battery is drained.

GM said a study of 300 Volt owners in California found many exceed the 35 miles (56 kilometers) of pure-electric range promised on the fuel economy label, and owners who charge regularly typically drive more than 970 miles before they need to refuel.

Volt’s U.S. sales have declined 13 percent to 14,540 this year through September. Nissan Leaf sales rose 36 percent to 21,822 and Prius plug-in deliveries increased 49 percent to 11,842, according to Autodata Corp., based in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey. GM has sold 885 Cadillac ELR models so far this year.

GM will introduce a next-generation Volt in January 2015 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit that will travel farther on a charge, accelerate faster and have a more fuel efficient gasoline engine, Barra said.

“We must provide the breakthrough technology that our customers want,” Barra said in the statement. “Our investments in the Chevy Volt and Michigan signify our commitment to lead the industry in technology and innovation.”

The current-generation Volt electric drive is manufactured at a GM plant in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico. In August, GM also said it would move production of Cadillac SRX sport-utility vehicles to a Tennessee factory from Ramos Arizpe.

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General Motors will move production of the electric drive unit for the next-generation Chevrolet Volt to Michigan from Mexico and plans to announce almost $300 million in investment in the state this year.
GM, Volt, Chevrolet, Michigan
Tuesday, 28 October 2014 01:36 PM
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