GM Centennial: Trendsetting Plants (Visit this link)
During the last 4 decades, General Motors has opened more than 20 new assembly plants around the world. The company embarked on an ambitious building spree in the 1980s as part of an unprecedented $40 billion capital spending program. New plants cropped up in Bowling Green, KY; Detroit/Hamtramck, MI; Fairfax, KS; Orion, MI; Roanoke, IN; Spring Hill, TN; and Wentzville, MO. Joint-venture plants opened in Fremont, CA, and Ingersoll, ON. General Motors also invested $2 billion in a European expansion program that included a new engine plant in Aspern, Austria, and new assembly plants in Eisenach, Germany, and Zaragoza, Spain. Many of the plants featured new production ideas and technologies, such as electric (rather than hydraulic) robots, modular paint systems and just-in-time material flow. In 1982, GM launched a major campaign to increase productivity through automation. Two years later, the company announced its "Factory of the Future" project. The ambitious goal was to increase robot deployment from just 302 units in 1980 to 14,000 by the end of the decade. When the Detroit-Hamtramck plant opened in the mid-1980s, it featured 2,000 programmable devices, including 260 robots. General Motors also invested millions of dollars in state-of-the-art machining systems and material handling equipment. For instance, GM’s Oshawa, ON, plant purchased several hundred automated guided vehicles for use in engine dress, trim and chassis lines. Here's a look at four trendsetting GM facilities, including the former Saturn plant in Spring Hill, that have opened in the United States since Richard Nixon was president.