Making it In America: Carmakers Invest Heavily in U.S. Manufacturing

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They say we don’t make anything in America anymore, but investments in American manufacturing facilities in the last year from GM, Volvo, BMW have done a lot to shatter that conception.

GM Reinvests in the Camaro, Silverado and Sierra


General Motors has recently announced their plans to invest $175-million in order to return production of the Chevrolet Camaro to the U.S. Lansing, Michigan’s Grand River Assembly Plant will be retooled to produce the 2016 Camaro, which is a total redesign focused on conquering new consumers while retaining the brand loyalty gained through over three decades of production.

The investment in the Grand River Plant is part of General Motor’s plan to upgrade U.S. operations by spending $5.4-billion over the next three years. Three new paint systems and two robotic framers are among the cutting-edge upgrades expected for production of the new Camaro. “With this investment in tooling and equipment, we will continue to do our part to build on the high-quality reputation of this iconic car,” GM North American Manufacturing Manager Scott Whybrew said in a recent statement.

The Grand River Plant, which currently produces the Cadillac CTS sedan, coupe, and wagon (and V-Series) and the Cadillac ATS sedan and coupe, employs approximately 1,300 salaried and hourly employees. A night shift is expected to resume in late summer. This will add about 500 additional employees to the plant roster.

The redesigned sixth-generation Camaro should help General Motors to secure the top spot in the prosperous pony car market. A broader engine lineup, that includes a turbocharged four-cylinder, a 335HP V6, and a powerful 455HP 6.2-liter V8, combined with a more compact and sleeker exterior are aimed at potential consumers with diverse transportation requirements.

That’s on top of a $1.2 billion investment in the Fort Wayne, Indiana truck plant, expanding its size by 50 percent to accommodate increased production of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size pickups.

Volvo Chooses South Carolina

Listing a business friendly climate and a capable workforce as deciding factors in choosing the location of their first North American assembly plant, Lex Kerssemakers CEO of Volvo North America has announced that the state of South Carolina will be the site of the $500-million facility. “Here in Charleston and South Carolina we have found our American manufacturing home,” said Kerssemakers, noting that choosing the state for the plant comes 60 years after Volvo began importing vehicles into this country. South Carolina was chosen over sixty other North American sites. The plant will be located in Berkeley County, South Carolina about thirty-miles northwest of the beautiful historic port city of Charleston, South Carolina.

The state of South Carolina, located in the southeastern U.S. on the eastern seaboard, offered approximately $200-million in potential incentives to woo the (Chinese owned) Swedish automaker to Berkeley County. A new Interstate 26 interchange will also be built to serve the plant as part of the incentive package. About 100 people turned out to celebrate the signing of the incentive deal. Attendees included Kerssemakers, Governor Nikki Haley, and Volvo/Geely officials.

Construction on the facility is scheduled to begin this fall (2015) and the company has announced that some 7,500 persons have already visited their website expressing interest in working at the new plant. Volvo hopes to employ as many as 4,000 workers at the North American location New Volvos are expected to roll off the assembly line in South Carolina in 2018, both for sale in the U.S. and for export from the Port City of South Carolina. Volvo is yet to announce which car line will be built in the Berkeley County Plant.

Other notable production facilities in South Carolina include a BMW plant in Greer and a Boeing Aircraft Facility in Berkeley County.

S.M. Darby

S.M. Darby

I am a freelance author with over 25 years of experience as a professional, ASE certified automotive technician and shop owner, muscle car enthusiast, avid street racer, and classic car restoration specialist.