General Motors To Build New SUV At Kansas City, Kansas Plant
General Motors plans to invest $245 million in its Fairfax plant in Kansas City, Kansas, to manufacture a new sports utility vehicle, the firm confirmed Tuesday.
The new SUV, which industry analysts believe will be most likely sold as a Cadillac, according to published reports, had originally been slated to be built at a GM plant in Orion Township, Michigan.
“In January, we informed our employees that we would move production of an all-new vehicle planned for Orion Assembly to Fairfax Assembly in Kansas,” Christopher M. Bonelli, a GM spokesman, said in a statement.
“This was announced as part of our ongoing product allocation process to build vehicles as cost-effectively as possible to benefit our customers and the business. The $245 million investment will go to Fairfax for the new vehicle program.”
The Fairfax plant, which employs about 3,200 people, currently assembles the Chevrolet Malibu and the Buick LaCrosse. GM recently invested $600 million in a new paint shop at the Fairfax plant.
“We are still evaluating how many new jobs will be needed to support the program at Fairfax,” Bonelli said.
He also said the 2016 Buick LaCrosse will end production at Fairfax this spring. Production of the next-generation 2017 LaCrosse will move to GM's Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant.
Still, GM's investment in a new vehicle at its Fairfax plant perhaps cements the Kansas City region’s place as one of the largest auto manufacturing centers in the United States.
The Ford Claycomo plant, which manufactures the F-150 pickup truck and the Transit cargo van, has had major investments in recent years and now employs more than 6,400 workers.
“There’s no better validation of the quality workforce at the Fairfax plant and the KC region than this move by GM,” said Tim Cowden, president of the Kansas City Area Development Council.
“Adding a completely new product, under the Cadillac brand, only solidifies the KCK facility’s relevance to GM well into the future.”
Kevin Collison is a freelance contributor to KCUR 89.3. You can reach him on Twitter @kckansascity.