General Motors announced in February it would invest $36 million in its Lansing Delta Township plant to continue enhancing crossover production. In 2017, the plant began production on two crossovers: the Buick Enclave and the Chevy Traverse, two vehicles that eventually became a huge part of the automaker’s portfolio.
Marcos Purty, plant executive director, said he and the team were honored that CEO Mary Barra chose to come to the plant and make the announcement in person. In her media statement, Barra said, ‘‘We are proud of the hard work and commitment of the entire Lansing team and the Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave are important products in our growing crossover portfolio. This investment will allow us to prepare the plant for future crossover production.‘
Purty said the investment shows the people of Lansing the company is doing more, despite layoffs and plant closures around the country.
While GM is pulling back production in many other areas, affecting 6,200 jobs and eliminating 8,000 either through buyouts, contractor cuts of layoffs, Purty said the announcement shows confidence in the people and the plant. When speaking about why the investment came to Lansing, he pointed to the fact that GM has always had a very strong presence in Michigan – and when it comes to investment, it always comes back to the people and the product.
“These cars are cornerstone products and the people here have proven to produce high quality and deliver on the company promise,” said Purty. He stressed that the team at the plant focuses on safety and quality, and pointed to its excellent track record with customer acceptance.
This isn’t the first investment the company has made in the plant. As GM’s newest American plant, opening in May 2006, the Lansing Delta Township Plant has seen more than $600 million in investments and was part of a $5.4 billion investment plan in 2015 that aimed to improve U.S. plants over three years.
UAW Local 602 was also pleased with the investment and said it applauded the move on behalf of the entire workforce community. Purty said he and the union chairman are on one team with the employees, and their focus on customer safety makes it a special place to be.
Purty said the plant was the first U.S. manufacturing facility to get Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-certified: one of the most popular green building certification programs used worldwide. The certification helps protect the environment but also generates support from the community and protects those who live around the plant.
“It’s special when you combine work practices with a safe environment,” said Purty.
While Purty said it hasn’t been easy for employees to see what’s happening across the greater GM family, there was a very positive reaction following the announcement of the investment. The plants being idled produce sedans, which are losing popularity among customers. Purty said he and his team come into work every day and pinch themselves that they produce the Traverse and Enclave. Even though no details have been announced as to what the investment will provide, Purty said, “This will help with further crossover production and that is a morale booster. We feel the future is bright because we do a good job and build two products that are a major part of GM’s portfolio.”