General Motors Co. today announced a $59 million investment in the Defiance Powertrain plant that will bring 80 jobs to the area. The announcement " involving the installation of equipment to manufacture engine blocks for the next generation of the Ecotec engine " was made inside the plant's aluminum division headquarters.
Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, state and local officials, plant managers and representatives of the United Auto Workers attended the event. "It's the latest technology when it comes to casting," said GM Powertrain plant manager Tom Gallagher. "This is an exciting day in Ohio manufacturing."
Aluminum and iron engine blocks and other components are made at the Defiance plant, which employs more than 1,300 hourly and salaried workers. Company officials indicated that the addition of the 80 jobs will likely result in the recall of the more than 50 Defiance employees currently on layoff and could result in the addition of GM workers who are out of work at other factories.
"Anytime we are talking about the creation of jobs, rather than the loss of jobs. It's good for America," Strickland said. "With your skilled workforce in this location and the other factories we have in Ohio, we have a long and proud history of manufacturing cars in Ohio."
State Senator Steve Buehrer (R-Delta) also spoke at the event.
"Defiance is a community that has a long, long history with General Motors," Buehrer said. "Today's announcement is the re-affirmation that this will continue to be a GM town."
State Rep. Bruce Goodwin (R-Defiance) joined the governor and other elected officials on the podium.
"Thank you, GM, for what you're doing for this community," Goodwin said. "GM is the linchpin that makes everything else work around this community. If we don't have jobs in this state, nothing happens."
General Motors' Defiance announcement is part of $494 million effort involving the Ecotec engine that spans three plants in three states.
GM "s $424 million investment will create 470 jobs in Tonawanda, N.Y., and a $10.5 million investment in Bay City, Mich., will add 15 jobs there.
Components made in Defiance will be included in the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze, a new compact car that is scheduled to hit showrooms later this year.
The investment announcement came following a year where the outlook for General Motors "and its future in Defiance " was in doubt. GM declared bankruptcy in June and has since reorganized to include the core brands of Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC.
The company emerged from bankruptcy in July, sustained by billions of dollars in aid from the United States government.
Locally, the Powertrain plant sat nearly idle for weeks over the summer as the company sought to reduce excess inventories of vehicles. Many plant workers spent significant time in the ranks of the unemployed during the summer months.