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May 16, 2007

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General Motors To Invest $63 Million In Its Saginaw Metal Casting Operations

General Motors will invest $63 million in its Saginaw, Mich. casting plant to produce cylinder heads for 3.6-liter high-feature V-6 engines by utilizing a new semi-permanent mold process.

Lost foam technician at GM Powertrain Saginaw Metal Castings Operations (SMCO)

The investment includes plant renovation and installation of new tooling and machinery to support the new casting process. Construction is slated to begin in the spring of 2009, and targeted for completion in January, 2011. The project will retain about 130 hourly employees.

“This investment would not be possible without the involvement of employees at this facility, who have dedicated themselves to improving the quality of our products and the efficiency of the operations here at Saginaw Metal Casting Operations,” said Arvin Jones, GM Powertrain manufacturing manager for castings and components. “Their efforts have contributed to GM’s competitiveness and our turnaround in North America.”

The GM Powertrain Saginaw Metal Casting Operations management, UAW Local 668 and IAM Local 2839 leadership successfully negotiated competitive operating agreements that improve operational effectiveness. The agreements also address processes and methods to improve production quality and safety of the operations.

“On behalf of GM, I commend the United Auto Workers, UAW Local 668, IAM Local 2839 and Michigan ’s leaders on the state and local levels. Working together we were able to build a competitive business case to support this investment in Michigan. The $63 million investment announced today brings GM Powertrain’s total Michigan investments in the past year to more than half a billion dollars,” said Jones.

“GM’s continued investment in its Michigan manufacturing facilities is good news for Michigan jobs,” said Governor Jennifer Granholm. “The cutting-edge technology that’s going into this facility not only solidifies the plant’s future in Saginaw, it’s symbolic of the kind of high-tech, advanced automotive manufacturing that can help grow jobs in Michigan tomorrow.”

The semi-permanent mold process, considered to be the most reliable process for casting cylinder heads, utilizes a water cooling process to produce a high integrity microstructure, thereby increasing the material strength. The 3.6-liter high feature V-6 engine has applications in the GMC Acadia, Saturn Outlook and Buick Enclave.

GM’s Powertrain Saginaw Metal Casting Operations (SMCO) facility opened in 1918, and is General Motors' largest aluminum producing facility. Notably, the new semi-permanent mold process becomes the fourth method for casting aluminum at SMCO. The plant employs 924 hourly and 167 salaried workers and has an annual payroll of $100 million. In 2006, more than 421,646 aluminum engine blocks and 1,872,336 aluminum engine cylinder heads were produced at the facility. Aluminum blocks and heads manufactured at SMCO are used in the Vortec 4200 I-6 engines that power the Chevrolet TrailBlazer and GMC Envoy; and the Vortec 4800, 5300, 6000 and 6200 V-8 engines that power GM’s fullsize SUVs and pickups such as the Chevrolet Tahoe, Suburban, Avalanche and Silverado; GMC Yukon, Yukon XL and Sierra; and Cadillac Escalade, ESV and EXT.

All Photos: GM

(May 15, 2007)

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