Assembly Line Moving Once Again At GM's Spring Hill Plant
SPRING HILL, Tenn. – Nearly a year after General Motors announced it would begin building its Chevrolet Equinox at its idled Spring Hill plant, vehicles are once again rolling off the assembly line.
The former Saturn auto assembly plant started making the vehicle last week. This is the first time a new SUV has been manufactured in the facility.
The company confirmed that another mid-sized vehicle would also be manufactured at the plant, starting some time in 2015.
Overall, a new contract with the United Auto Workers last year guaranteed GM would bring back 1,900 people to work at the plant. The jobs were initially set to go to Mexico.
In November 2011, GM Labor Relations Director Cathy Clegg outlined a plan to avoid another catastrophic closure. She said the Spring Hill plant will not only produce cars, but other parts as well.
"This won't be a typical plant with just a few dedicated products. The flex operation can change products frequently, based on what we need to do in the market," said Clegg.
Around 2,000 employees were laid off at the plant in 2009 after GM stopped production on the Chevy Traverse. Since then, the assembly line was practically shut down. The remaining employees worked on engines and other parts.
GM began manufacturing a new Ecotec 2.5L automobile engine at its Spring Hill plant in August. The engine will initially power the redesigned 2013 Chevrolet Malibu sedan. The same power plant will eventually be used in a variety of General Motors vehicles.
"We're really proud they're building the engine here. It's world class," said Tim Stannard with the United Auto Workers Union. "Jobs are going be back in Spring Hill. Young people are going be in the plant. It's this new life, new blood. We're very excited and proud."
GM officials said the total reinvestment in the Spring Hill plant came in at around $460 million.