GM Invests $328 Million in Michigan Plant for Next-Gen Trucks

GM Invests $328 Million in Michigan Plant for Next-Gen Trucks
By Dave Lee

GM announced Monday that it will invest $328 million in its Flint, Mich., plant to build the next generation of Chevrolet and GMC full-size pickups.

The plant, which builds the heavy-duty versions of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, has 2,047 employees, and the investment is expected to create or retain 150 jobs, GM says.

"This investment will allow us to continue building award-winning full-size pickups that offer better fuel efficiency than ever before without sacrificing features and functionality,” said Cathy Clegg, GM’s vice president of labor relations. "We remain committed to providing customers the utility and capability of our world-class full-size pickups."

The investment is part of $2 billion that GM is spending to create or keep about 4,000 jobs in 17 facilities over the next 18 months.

GM’s retail share of the full-size pickup market has grown to 40.4 percent through May compared with 37.7 percent in the first five months of 2010, according to the company.

Production on the next-gen pickups is expected to begin in summer 2013 as 2014 models.

Comments

Note #1- Motor Trend is a CAR magazine so a, Truck Of The Year award does not carry much weight.

Note #2- Consumer Reports is an appliance (ovens, refrigerators, toasters, etc.) testing outfit. They are even less worthy for testing vehicles.

I don't see why guys hate IFS. My brother's company started buying GM trucks. Most of the guys including himself thought IFS would not hold up. He now has changed his tune. He has found that the IFS hasn't had any more or less problems than SFA trucks. He actually thinks the Ford HD's ride better than the IFS GM's. His biggest complaint about GM trucks is that the bodies and interiors are complete junk. He averages 30 - 40,000 miles per year on his company trucks. Those are mostly off highway miles.

GM plans to shift overseas production

http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20090509/AUTO01/905090337/1148/GM-plans-to-shift-overseas-production

@Buy American or say Bye to America!
So how do you feel about truck trend?

oxi would you quit taking out you rear end for a while please. the us military use independent on very few vehicles .
they use stright axles more often then ifs because it is in the long run cheaper to repair and to maintain also most of their heavey haulers are stright axle and im not saying ifs is bad cause its not in certin vehicles the militry has multiple vehicles for multiple jobs very few ifs vehicles except the humvee which is exspected to be phased out of serveice soon

Seems as though the main point has been missed here. GM is moving 1/2 ton production from Mexico to Flint, MI USA. I would think that would please most people here, but I guess since it's GM then they're probably going to cancel Christmas or club baby seals in the process.

Also, isn't it great that we have a choice of IFS or SFA on the market now? Those of you that are complaining about a lack of SFA on GM trucks, you really aren't going to buy a GM truck if it DID offer SFA, so quit bringing up that straw man argument and enjoy the fact that we still have a great selection of trucks to choose from.

careful Matt, you're getting far to close to a logical argument.
I still dont like GM trucks, but im glad they're moving more production into the US.

@ Matt
BS , if GM made a new 3500HD 4x4 with a solid front axle I would buy one in a heartbeat but since they are obsessed with sticking Chevy LUV front suspension under the front of a one ton truck I think I will pass , but dont worry Chevrolet HD trucks getting destroyed in sales numbers by Dodge HD trucks must be a great thing for Chevrolet and there fanboys to be proud of since IMO its solely because of Dodges solid front axle .

I have seen my fair share of late model Sierra & Silverado 4X4s, with 10"-plus lifts, that have been converted to a solid-front axle. I am pretty sure that these owners would have loved to have had a solid-front axle, from the factory, from the get go.

curtis-

Motor Trend and Truck Trend are practically the same magazine.

@Buy American or say Bye to America!
Which is why I suggested it.

I wonder if that will be the introduction of the all-new Duramax engine with CGI block and reverse flow heads? First diesel pickup to put out 900 lb-ft? 1,000 lb-ft? 8 speed Allison anybody?

@Taylor

Sure is easy to spend internet dollars isn't it! :-) And I'm fairly certain the suspension shares no parts with the LUV.

I don't have any sales figures, so I can neither confirm or deny your "destroyed" claim, and frankly, I don't care. I myself am considering a Ram HD as my next truck, but it's not "solely because of SFA". Actually, that has nothing to do with it. What I like is the price is cheaper, and there's no DEF to mess with. I'd wager that my reasons far outweigh what type of axle is on what truck.

@brandon,

U.S. military independent axles are a growing fleet:

MTVR, LVSR, PLS-A1, M-ATV, HUMVEE, JLTV...

In the works: next generation HEMTT, U.S. Army's medium tactical fleet...

Basically when you want to haul weight or pull heavy loads, those trucks will have independent suspensions in the U.S. military!

Why are you trying to avoid the truth about the downfall of solid axles in the military? The military needs to haul and move at speed off-road and solid axles cannot keep up to the tough and fast duties the military needs, so they are being discarded!

Want proof, just look at the MRAP's. The solid axle versions called legacy MRAP's kept getting stuck and breaking their solid axles in Afghanistan because the solid axle suspensions could not handle their heavy weight off-road.

Solution was the U.S. Marines MTVR fully independent suspensions already proven in the battlefield and can carry heavy payloads!

Solution was the M-ATV, a fully independent MRAP that has saved countless lives in Afghanistan and meets the speed and mobility the U.S. military requires now.

Solid axles are a thing of the past!

TruckTrend had a news story about the same investments, but this is what they also had to say quote "
CEO Dan Akerson has also voiced his concern about the future of full-sized trucks and questioned its viability in a time when fuel prices continue to fluctuate. His statements mirror the current downward sales trend of Chevy Silverados and GMC Sierras, while the company's small cars such as the Chevy Cruze are flying off the dealer lots.

http://www.trucktrend.com/features/news/2011/163_news110718_gm_truck_plant_gets_328_million_investment/index.html#ixzz1SaLUoRAA

GMC is investing in the future of its trucks but GMC's CEO Dan Akerson has doubts about the future of its full sized trucks.
That is a dangerous mixed message to put foreward to the public.
He might as well say - don't buy pickups buy battery powered cars.
Who signs his paycheck?
GMC = Green Motor Corporation?????

Gm needs some new engines like asap. I love the twin turbo v6 Ford has thats one sweet engine!! Just got my new 2011 Harley f150 i love it so much. Gm needs to bring back the SS or something there trucks look boring and ugly!! I would never own a GM but hope they come out with something cool soon!!

@oxi you and me must agree to disagree the us military uses more stright axles than independent althow it is hard to say any more cause they come out with new stuff all the time back to gm glad for them but i still will not buy a truck with ifs pissed me off when ford did in thier f150 way to costly to fix and to who every comments to this saying but the military dose just rember that civilan trucks are not on the same level as military trucks are who knows thow if they made it an option i might try gm but for now i stick to my ford f250

@ Matt
I know that the GM HD trucks do not use any Chevy LUV front suspension components , that's called being facetious , and as to buying a GM HD truck if it had a solid front axle I can easily say that because GM the master of why build what the customer wants when we can get a government handout would rather have Dodge sell more HD trucks than Chevrolet which IMO is because Dodge has the SFA there is no other reason to buy a Ford or Dodge other than the SFA .

@ OXI
"Solid axles are a thing of the past"
And so is GM selling more HD trucks than Ford or Dodge IMO the only reason Ford sells so many more HD trucks than GM and Dodge HD trucks combined is because of the SFA , other than the SFA there is no reason to buy a Ford or Dodge over a GM truck .

This whole SFA/IFS agrument is getting kinda old already, much like the GM bailout. I know that most pickup owners drive a 4x4, but let's not forget that the Ram 2wd 2500/3500 also uses IFS.

@matt

I am guessing that some people don't care that production is being moved from Mexico to Michigan since they likely learned from others on this forum that they are all "Americans" so it doesn't really matter if its Michigan, Mexico, or Venezuala.

"God bless all of the Americans in Mexico making trucks for the Italians!"

Personally, I support production in the USA and applaud GM and any manufacturer that makes investments to increase or keep jobs in the USA.

If I want a smooth ride I'll get a Buick LaCrosse, however I wanted a truck and that is why I have a new 2011 RAM 3500 High Output. Solid Front Axle is what I prefer but the new IFS on the chevy is VERY strong and has a 6,000 lb GAWR

I could see my self in a chevy if the cab was bigger and the frame was higher.

I could see myself in a Ford if they went Fully Boxed on the frame, bigger brakes, bigger fuel tank, and a cab designed in the last decade...

So far the RAM has the best of all worlds... biggest brakes, fully boxed frame, nice size cabs, lots of ground clearance, and no DEF

I have a 2000 Silverado Z-71 with 145,000 miles. It still had the frame plugs in it at 132,000 miles because it had never been aligned yet from the factory. It has seen it's fair share of highway and off-road. i just treated it with respect and it has always brought me home. It truly depends on what a person plans on using their truck for, as to what configuration to choose. One is not superior to the other. To those who don't understand this I say..."Put the crayons down, it is nap time."

They are going to improve the best heavy duty truck available today with this investment. Great news for the builder of the best trucks available today.

Personally I really like the solid axles in the Fords and Dodges. I am a retired mechanic and the work they provide is great. Having the lowest part of the truck in the center of the road is great for plowing the roads. I do a lot of front axle work on Fords and Dodges and steering components. Keep up the good work.
I drive a 2008 GMC Duramax, crew cab long box with 17 inch wheels, I have more ground clearance, and better ride. Works for me!

We could use some info leaks on future engines.

We are glad to see GM investing in US plants. In our area the Arlington, TX plant is getting upgraded and expanded as well.

Here is an interesting story on the 2016 CAFE standards.
http://money.cnn.com/2011/07/05/autos/fuel_economy_regulations_hidden_costs.fortune/index.htm?iid=EAL

Exerpt "The government-automakers negotiations should be interesting since the government is essentially bargaining with itself. It is the largest shareholder in General Motors (GM, Fortune 500) with 33%. Draconian fuel economy standards could affect the value of the government's GM holdings -- a potential liability for the Obama administration in an election year."
The USA government has already lost money on GMC stock.
If they implement more "Green" standards it will lower GM stock even further.
Even GMC's CEO is worried:
quote
"CEO Dan Akerson has also voiced his concern about the future of full-sized trucks and questioned its viability in a time when fuel prices continue to fluctuate. His statements mirror the current downward sales trend of Chevy Silverados and GMC Sierras, while the company's small cars such as the Chevy Cruze are flying off the dealer lots.

The pro-green government doesn't like trucks and the head of GMC thinks trucks are a bad investment.

That does not bode well for truck fans, especially GMC truck fans.

GMC = Green Motor Corporation ?????

Volt Silverado anyone?????

You'll get used to the fact that it looks like a Prius with a box.

Im not sure where some of you stereotypical idiots have been but GM paid their money back to the Government. They downsized in a lot of brands that they carried to cut cost. GM also fired the old CEO that they had and promoted within a new CEO who started out sweeping floors and has been with the company over 30 years. Now lets see sounds like an American traditional company to me and thats why I buy all GM trucks and will continue for the rest of my life. Everybody has their own opinion but dont throw crap on a American company thats providing more jobs than Obama has his whole damn term. As far as Dodge and Ford also great companies trying to thrive in America. I think their trucks are cheap looking and feels like the cheap sheet metal they are made out of is terrible quality but thats just me. Chevy is better on gas than f150 and Dodge by far. Im anxious to see the new 2013 Chevy and I bet a million bucks GM gets the truck of the year award within the first year. Who wants to prove me wrong.

@ dcfluid

your anecdotal evidence, while it may be important to you, must be compared to GM themselves redesigning the IFS for the 900-HDs because of many of the flaws associated with the 400/800 IFS. SLA front suspensions have a camber arc, or curve, associated with suspension movement. As the load changes, the suspension cycles, the camber changes, increasingly negative as the suspension compresses, increasingly positive as it rebounds. Secondly, there is an amount of bump-steer that is associated because the steering linkage is not parallel with the center-line of the suspension. They do this for ground clearance, but it becomes a compromise.
ATVs and Race Trucks spend many hours in severe service, however with ATVs the strength vs. torque and weight of the vehicle is much more favorable than in a full-size truck that weighs upwards of 10,000 lbs (loaded). Race vehicles use purpose build components, long-travel and they are inspected and repaired frequently. The difference, again, is that these are not feasible in a publicly consumed truck.
As far as the military...the most popular and effective IFS systems use portal reduction at the hub. This is by far the best IFS system because it both reduces the stress on the half-shaft and it raises the differential higher in the chassis for more clearance.
All CV half-shafts have a capacity and longevity, when they are run at any angle the life-span and torque capacity is reduced. With portal reduction the shafts are run virtually flat, the total range of operation is less and they are more protected from debris.
GM trucks use very small tie-rods, even the 900-HDs, and these are the only barrier to unwanted steering deflection due to torque input. Another component of all IFS designs is the torque-steer resulting from high-torque inputs in a heavy load situation. 400/800s were notorious for tie-rod issues, just ask any H2 owner that took their trucks off-road. The 900s are better, but the tie-rods are still very small and will deflected in off-road use.

Saying that SFA ride is worse than IFS is misleading at best and an out-right lie at worst. The problem is that ride quality is subjective. Without an accelerometer mounted at equal heights vertically, along the symmetrical axis, equal distant in the wheelbase, it is all about feel. To compare rides the trucks should at least have an equal wheelbase and spring rates. My 2000 C6P had a terrible ride (empty) compared to my SFA Dodge. One reason is that the C6P was relatively light, but had a relatively high GVWR. So the high spring rates combined with light weight, it would lock the seat belt when going down moderate roads. It was such a rough ride and the seat belt locked so often I often didn't wear the belt. But, I bought the HD truck on purpose.
Compare and contrast a new GM HD with a 6,000 front GAWR and you'll find one rough riding truck. I have had my fair share of severe back problems and the ride wasn't nearly as big an issue as the step-in. I simply don't drive my SFA trucks when I'm suffering. Not because of the ride, evidently my old Dodge and 80s GM seats are better, but because climbing up into my stock-height trucks is painful!

I have a company car for work so commuting is not a consideration in my world. However, at least 12 times per year I take my truck off-road while hauling or towing, I go hunting into severe off-road situations for at least 2-3 weeks per year, and generally 1-2 times a year I'll go into an extreme off-road situation. Trust me, I am not alone in turning away from GM because of these issues. I'm a GM guy and I'd buy a GM truck if I could use it they way I use my old SFA GM truck or my Dodge. The fact is GM trucks are not good in extreme or severe off-road. I'm not talking about rock-crawling, simply ungraded Forest Roads that might have wash-outs, large boulders, deep ruts, mud, snow, or all of the above.

The funny part of all this is that the front GAWR is the LEAST important component of good off-road performance. Design integrity and component strength will be the boon or bane of a stock HD truck.

If anyone wants to compare HD truck ratings based on what Consumer Reports says, more power to them, but they are hardly unbiased. The best thing to do, and I have personally done this, is to drive all the trucks you are in the market for and if possible rent them for a weekend and use them in the worst case scenario. I suspect that if everyone did this they will find that what they always "knew" was true may not be correct.

I don't dislike GM, quite the opposite, I'd rather have a GM vehicle and if enough people that want GM trucks but are buying the competition will explain why, perhaps GM will either build a more rugged HD truck or simply ignore this segment of the market. If I was anti-GM, I wouldn't comment. I wouldn't KEEP trying GM products. If the 900 HDs were as good as my Dodge off-road, I'd have a new GMC 2500HD in my driveway now.

JS-

Great post!

I'm partial about this decision. Just because GM is finally out of the red doesn't mean it should make such huge investments. I guess only time can tell whether it's a smart move or not.

i am so glad this internet thing works and your article really helped me.

Unless that truck comes with the data 60 under the front I won't be purchasing one because every chevy truck that comes out here to North Dakota working the oilfields, falls apart within 3 months generally within the first week you will see 1 sitting on the side of the road with a broken tie rod after hitting a pothole up here on the indian reservation. There is a reason Halliburton Baker Hughes and Weatherford buy only Dodges and Fords for its fleet. Chevys need to stay on asphalt in order to stay together.



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