General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) this year announced major investments in Indiana as the automaker continues toward its goal of selling only electric passenger vehicles by 2035. In September, GM said it would invest nearly $500 million to expand and upgrade operations at its Marion Metal Center and two months later, detailed plans to invest $45 million to expand production at its Bedford Casting Operations.
Spokesman Dan Flores says the investments will support GM’s target of having the capability to produce 1 million EVs by the end of 2025.
“What we’ve essentially said is during this transition to an all-electric future, we’re going to bring everyone along,” Flores said. “How that translates to our manufacturing operations is over time, we’re going to convert our facilities to not only support the current manufacturing of internal combustion engine vehicles, we’re going to transition everything to this all-electric future.”
The investment in the Bedford facility will support additional production of electric vehicle drive unit castings ahead of what GM anticipates will be strong demand for the Chevrolet Silverado EV and GMC Sierra EV full-size pickup trucks.
Flores says the EV drive units enables the power coming from the battery to turn the wheels. The units themselves will be built at GM’s propulsion plant in Toledo, Ohio, but the castings will be made in Bedford.
“When you look at Bedford and you look at the history, a tremendous workforce, really great products, and over the years, they’ve built an expertise where they’re generally known as if not the best, one of the best aluminum foundries in the world,” said Flores. “It only makes sense for us to keep that great operation going.”
The $491 million investment in Marion will add 6,000 square feet, as well as new and upgraded equipment, to the 2.7 million-square-foot facility. The Marion Metal Center employs about 750 workers who sheet metal stamped parts and blanks that are sent to GM assembly plants throughout North America.
GM says it will add two press lines and invest in upgraded equipment to equip new and future EV models, including the Chevrolet Silverado EV, GMC Hummer EV, HUMMER EV SUV, and Cadillac LYRIQ.
While GM is working hard toward its EV goals, Flores said the company’s Indiana operations will continue to support internal combustion engine vehicles as well.
“Between now and 2035, we have to keep our customers happy, and we have to generate the revenue that will cover the cost of these other conversions,” said Flores. “Bedford, the castings plant, and the Marion stamping plant are really important operations not only for our current business, but for our future EV business, so we’re very excited to make these investments.”
Flores says there are many factors for GM’s continued investment in Indiana. The company’s experienced workforce, the union representation, and partnerships with local and state government have been crucial to its success in the Hoosier State.
“I think it’s a strong public-private partnership where everyone understands that in the end, if the company can be competitive, employees can benefit, communities can benefit and the state can benefit. When we can run our business competitively and build products that the marketplace wants, everyone wins in the end.”
GM also has an assembly plant in Fort Wayne, which Flores says is an incredibly important to GM. The facility produces the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size pickup trucks.
While the facility doesn’t produce any electric vehicles, Flores emphasized GM’s commitment to plant.
“Our full-size pickup business…is the driver for the company. Not only is it our highest-volume product, it’s a very profitable product for us. Fort Wayne is really important when it comes to enabling the company to reinvest in itself as we prepare for an all-EV future.”
GM’s operations in Bedford, Marion and Fort Wayne may not be the company’s only presence in Indiana. The automaker is a part of Ultium Cells LLC, a joint venture with LG Energy Solution that is considering building a $2.4 billion electric vehicle battery manufacturing facility in New Carlisle.
The St. Joseph County Council has approved tax incentives and an economic development agreement for the project. It would include a 2.5 million-square-foot facility and 1,600 jobs for the city, if the site is chosen.
A decision on where the plant will be located is expected in early 2023.