General Motors today earlier this week that it will invest $47 million in its manufacturing facilities in Spring Hill, Tennessee and Bay City, Michigan to prepare for future product programs. The combined investments will result in 230 retained jobs in the US. This is part of a $1 billion investment in U.S. manufacturing operations announced by the company in January.
GM says it will invest $148 million to repurpose flexible machining and assembly equipment at its Spring Hill Manufacturing plant to build V8 engines to meet market demand, retaining approximately 200 jobs. The investment will enable Spring Hill to quickly add capacity to build the Small Block 6.2L V8 engine in the popular truck and SUV segment. This will be the first time Spring Hill will build V8 engines. The 6.2L truck engine is currently available in the Chevrolet Silverado Crew Cab, GMC Sierra Crew Cab, Yukon Denali, Yukon XL Denali and the Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV.
Saturn's innovative manufacturing methods have not only helped it build world-class cars, but it also helped the company forge stronger labor ties with its workers. While all of Saturn's production techniques cannot be listed on one page, I've attempted to highlight a select few that stand out. These were methods used in Saturn's Spring Hill, TN manufacturing plant.
This morning's "Did You Know?" trivia focuses on Saturn and the environment. Saturn was concerned with how its cars affect the environment throughout the car's lifetime -- from design, to manufacture, to use by owners, to final disposal.
In the early days, Saturn manufactured its own cars at its own plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee. In addition to innovating on the sales, service, and engineering sides of its business, Saturn's founding fathers spent a significant amount of time developing new manufacturing techniques that were based on some of the "best in class" processes used by companies from around the world.
G. Chambers Williams III from the Tennessean: Tom Smith opened the Video Shoppe in north Columbia a year after GM announced it would build a new Saturn plant in nearby Spring Hill. To his delight, the automaker put a giant training facility right next door, and rentals of his movies boomed. "I had a good run because of it," he said. But today, more than 20 years later, the South Central Tennessee Career Center has moved in next door, where unemployed people go to look for work. "Their business is great, but mine is not," Tom Smith said.
Paul A. Eisenstein from MSNBC: It's been nearly a quarter-century since General Motors Chairman Roger Smith stunned the automotive world by announcing that GM would create an all-new car division, called Saturn. But 25 years later, Saturn's once high-tech factory, and Saturn itself, are closing down, testimonies to the failures of Smith, and the CEOs who followed him, to fix GM's problems.
From the Ventura County Star: Started in 1985 to compete with small, fuel-efficient Japanese imports, Saturn was meant to operate independently of the parent company — and for a while it did, building an enthusiastic customer base — almost cultlike — that it hosted for an annual reunion and picnic at its Spring Hill, Tennessee, plant. Unfortunately, the brand never made money and the plant quit making Saturns in 2007. But, to hear Saturn buffs tell it, the massive GM bureaucracy intruded more and more in the running of the company, and it was slow to introduce new models in a fast-changing market.
ABC News looked back on its evening news telecast from July 26, 1985 when GM announced construction of the Saturn plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee.
You may recall a couple of months ago GM had an auction, liquidating lots of classic cars. They even pulled the last built Saturn Ion out of the museum it was in to put it up for bidding. Well, this is that car. It was also featured in at least two articles on this website (here and here). This Saturn Ion is in fantastic shape, as it was stored in a museum. It now has 2,500 miles on it.