Manufacturing

GM announces $2 billion investment into Tennessee, Michigan plants to build EVs, pickups

The 2023 Cadillac Lyriq will be produced at GM's Tennessee plant.

Photo courtesy of Cadillac

General Motors has already invested heavily into its first electric vehicle plant, the former Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Center that is now Factory Zero. Now, the company has announced that its Spring Hill Manufacturing plant will be a second manufacturing base for electric vehicles.

The plant started its life as the home of the Saturn Corporation. It currently builds the Cadillac XT5 and XT6, and GMC Acadia. GM's release stated that the plant will continue to produce the Cadillacs and add the forthcoming 2023 Cadillac Lyriq to its assembly duties. Production of the Acadia will move to DM's Lansing Delta Township Assembly at the cost of $100 million. GM's Lansing plant is a LEED gold-certified automobile plant that currently produces the Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Traverse. The Acadias was made there until 2016 so the move is a homecoming of sorts.

2022 Chevrolet Traverse Chevrolet is refreshing the interior and exterior of its Traverse for 2022. Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

As part of the $2 billion investment into Spring Hill,GM will expand the plant's paint and body shop and comprehensively upgrade general assembly including new machines, conveyors, controls, and tooling. Work is slated to begin at the facility immediately.

Included in the $2 billion figure is $32 million to be invested at Flint Assembly (Michigan) for the future production of Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra heavy-duty pickup trucks. An additional $17 million will be invested in the company's Romulus, Michigan propulsion plant to increase the capability to produce GM's 10-speed truck transmission, which is used in a number of key GM products including its trucks and SUVs.

Two smaller amounts, $3.5 million and $750,000 will be invested at Orion Assembly and in Brownstown Charter Township, Michigan, respectively, in relation to the company's production of the Cruise AV test vehicle.

In the last 19 months, GM has committed to invest more than $4.5 billion at three U.S. manufacturing sites to prepare those facilities for EV-related vehicle production.

Separately, GM and LG Chem formed a joint venture – Ultium Cells LLC – and together are investing more than $2.3 billion to build a new battery cell manufacturing plant in Lordstown, Ohio next to Lordstown Motors HQ that will create more than 1,100 new jobs. Construction of the facility is underway.

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Polestar currently operates four showrooms in the U.S.

Photo courtesy of Polestar

Polestar, an electric performance car brand, will be opening 15 new sales locations in the U.S. by the end of 2021. Called Polestar Spaces, the showrooms are more in line with what Tesla offers and less like a traditional auto dealership.

Each Polestar Space features minimalist Scandinavian-like design, pulling together the heritage of the company with a modern sales environment. Each location is staffed by non-commissioned Polestar Specialists. Test drives can be coordinated on-site or at home.

In the next few months, locations in Austin, Texas; Boston; Denver, Seattle; South Florida; and Washington D.C. will open. Those new showrooms will be established in connection with established retailer groups in the area. Additional information regarding the D.C. and Florida locations is expected soon.

2021 Polestar 2 The fastback Polestar 2 is a head-turner. Photo courtesy of Polestar

The second-half of 2021 will welcome the opening of additional showrooms in Atlanta; Central and South New Jersey; Connecticut; Dallas; Detroit; Minneapolis; Phoenix; and Orange County, California.

Specific showroom details are available at Polestar.com/Spaces.

"In 2019 we stated our goal of servicing 85% of the addressable EV market within a year of the Polestar 2 launch," said Gregor Hembrough, Head of Polestar in North America. "With these 2021 appointments, we will accomplish that and more- especially with our free pickup and delivery servicing within 150 miles of a brick-and-mortar Polestar location."

Polestar Spaces are already open in Los Angeles (Santa Monica) and Manhattan, plus two locations in the San Francisco Bay Area (Corte Madera and Santa Clara).

The automaker currently offers the Polestar 2 for sale in the U.S. AutomotiveMap recently had the opportunity to test drive the car for review.

It was recently confirmed that the Polestar Precept concept is headed to production. The concept version of the car is noted for its sustainable materials and minimalist design.

Additionally, Polestar and Koenigsegg are working on a project.

Further markets for expansion will be announced later in 2021.

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A diamond mesh grille fronts the 2022 Kia K8.

PhPhoto courtesy of Kia Motorsoto courtesy of Kia Motors

Goodbye, Cadenza. Hello, K8. The Kia Cadenza is one of those cars that is easy forgotten about (if you ever knew about it in the first place) and frequently passed over in favor of the Toyota Avalon or the like. Still, most every automotive journalist who has driven it likes it.

So, Kia's taking the lessons learned from the Cadenza and some from the K5 and Stinger, and rolling them into a new large sedan, the 2022 Kia K8. This week the company unveiled the first official images of the car ahead of its debut. This is the first vehicle named the K8 in Kia history.

2022 Kia K8 The K8's headlights have integrated turn signals.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

2022 Kia K8

"Following our recent company rebrand, we keep moving toward our new brand values with a new model – the K8. This modern sedan has been designed with innovation and elegance at its very core," said Karim Habib, Senior Vice President and Head of Kia Global Design Center. "While paying homage to the K7, the K8 looks to the future. Its progressive exterior takes on character and emotion, and combines those qualities with an expressive looking front and a dynamic swooping rear, giving the K8 a high-quality, premium presence that takes direct inspiration from some of the world's most technically advanced yachts."

As seen in the photos, the car wears Kia's new logo on its badging, and has design lines reminiscent of the vehicles it has taken lessons from. There's a frameless tire nose grille with diamond lattice, turn signals integrated into the headlights, an elongated side profile, chrome finish along the bottom of the doors, and a roofline that trails off into the trunk. It's all very much from the Kia sedan lineup.

Kia promises that the car will have a "first class" interior that establishes "new benchmarks in premium quality". The sedan will deliver a high-performance driving experience yet be comfortable to ride in, according to Kia messaging.

The rear of the Kia K8 features elongated taillights.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The Kia K8 is expected to arrive in showrooms later this year but the U.S. might not get it until after it's arrived in Korea and Europe.

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