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GM to Invest $600M in KS Paint Shop

Thursday, January 31, 2013

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General Motors has announced plans to spend $600 million on a brand-new paint shop, including new technology and environmental enhancements.

The automaker will invest $600 million in the Fairfax Assembly and Stamping Plant in Kansas City, KS, GM said Monday (Jan. 28)

The investment includes constructing a new 450,000-square-foot paint shop, installing a new stamping press, and other upgrades. GM has invested nearly $2 billion in the Fairfax plant over the last decade. This investment represents a large chunk of the $1.5 billion GM previously announced that it would put into its North American facilities in 2013.

Photos: GM

GM CEO Dan Akerson announced that $600 million would be invested in a new paint shop and other upgrades at the Fairfax Assembly and Stamping Plant.

Construction is expected to start later this year, and it is estimated that it will take two years to complete.

Paint Shop Upgrades

The new paint shop will occupy a new building and feature "substantial upgrades" in technology, including new tooling, robots, and state-of-the-art environmental and efficiency enhancements, according to GM. Plans for the facility include:

  • Thin Film Technology, which reduces water use and maintenance and eliminates hazardous chemicals from the waste stream;
  • Hyper Throw E-COAT, which provides optimal corrosion protection by placing more coating in cavities and recesses;
  • 50 percent less energy use per vehicle, up to a 20 percent smaller footprint, and reduced VOC emissions; and
  • GM-patented Radiant Tub Ovens that use 20 percent less natural gas and 40 percent less electricity.

The Fairfax plant currently builds the Buick LaCrosse and Chevrolet Malibu. Vehicle production schedules won't be affected by construction, according to GM. The plant will continue to operate in three shifts with close to 4,000 employees.

The Fairfax Plant

"This major investment is a vote of confidence in the employees and leadership of this plant and will allow them to continue producing beautiful, world-class vehicles ... with the same quality workmanship that has defined the Fairfax complex for nearly 70 years," said Dan Akerson, GM Chairman and CEO.

The Fairfax plant builds the Buick LaCrosse and Chevrolet Malibu. The brand new paint shop will have "substantial upgrades" in technology, according to GM.

The Fairfax plant dates to 1945, and its current building opened in 1987. During World War II, it was the first industrial facility to make automobiles and jet fighters in the same building, said GM.

More than 12 million GM vehicles have been built at the plant.

"The United Auto Workers have proudly built vehicles in Fairfax for decades and look forward to being part of the upgrades that will be taking place in the plant," said Joe Ashton, UAW Vice President and director of the union's GM department.

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Tagged categories: Automotive coatings; Building design; Economy; Unions

Comment from Jeremy Low, (2/1/2013, 9:53 AM)

you would think I would be happy for General Motors. They've done so good in making such a diverse variety of cars, trucks, and SUV's. but the fact remains, the government owns 500,000,000 stocks of General Motors or 26% of the company. it seems rather of General Motors has all this money to invest in new projects, when they should just buy back what is theirs. am I missing something here?

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (2/4/2013, 9:36 AM)

Companies sometimes need facilities upgrades and improvements in order to fuel future growth and profits. It's not like they were throwing money around outside their core business.

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