Manufacturing

General Motors announces investments in plants, 3D printing facility, GM Defense center

The new Additive Industrialization Center will be home to GM's 3D printing efforts.

Photo courtesy of General Motors

General Motors is in the midst of making a number of announcements regarding facility openings and investments. The latest news reveals that a new facility dedicated to 3D printing has just opened in Michigan; two GM engine plants, one in New York and another in Ohio, are getting upgrades; and subsidiary GM Defense is renovating a center in North Carolina for production.

Additive Industrialization Center

The 15,000-square-foot Additive Industrialization Center (AIC) has opened in Warren, Michigan. The center is new from the ground up and dedicated to the production of 3D parts that will be used throughout the GM lineup. GM is calling the center the "capstone" of their expertise.

"The core component of GM's transformation is becoming a more agile, innovative company, and 3D printing will play a critical role in that mission," said Audley Brown, GM director of Additive Design and Materials Engineering. "Compared to traditional processes, 3D printing can produce parts in a matter of days versus weeks or months at a significantly lower cost."

Inside the facility are 24 3D printers, which create polymer and metal solutions. Machines inside AIC are able to conduct selective laser sintering, selective laser melting, Multi-Jet Fusion, and fused deposition modeling. These technologies will be used to validate various applications for the parts in future vehicles, such as the Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing and CT5-V Blackwing. Chevrolet's race cars have also been trying out the parts.

Additionally, AIC is using the tech to create parts for retooling GM's production facilities. For the launch of the 2021 Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe, GMC Yukon, and Cadillac Escalade, GM"s 3D printing team printed nearly 100 hand tools. Normally, these tools would be made of aluminum and weight 10 to 40 pounds each. The new designs, printed using carbon fiber, weigh as little as three pounds and have

$76 million plant investment

General Motors engine plant Tonawanda New York Buffalo

The GM Tonawanda powertrain plant produces a number of engines for GM's trucks and SUVs.

Photo courtesy of General Motors

GM plans to invest $70 million into its Tonawanda, New York engine plant and over $6 million into its Parma, Ohio metal stamping plant. These manufacturing-related investments are being made to support demand for the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks.

The Tonawanda investment will be used to increase capacity on the engine block machining line and the Parma investment will be used to construct four new metal assembly cells to support increased truck production volumes.

GM's New York plant currently produces the 4.3-liter V6, 5.3-liter V8, and 6.2-liter V8 family of engines for the Chevrolet Silverado, Suburban, and Tahoe; GMC Yukon and Yukon Denali; and Cadillac Escalade. It also builds the 6.6-liter V8 for Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD pickups. The SUV models have all been completely redesigned for the 2021 model year, a move that is likely to spur increased sales in the model line.

The Tonawanda engine plant is home to approximately 1,300 employees. The plant's hourly workforce is represented by UAW Local 774.

Ohio's Parma Metal Center processes over 800 tons of steel per day and services and supports approximately 35 customers, including the majority of General Motors North America produced vehicles. The plant is capable of producing up to 100 million parts per year.

The plant employs approximately 1,000 employees. Hourly employees are represented by UAW Local 1005.

GM Defense renovates North Carolina technical center

GM Defense Concord North Carolina

GM is repurposing its Technical Center in North Carolina.

Photo courtesy of General Motors

GM Defense LLC, a subsidiary of General Motors, has begun renovations of an existing GM building in Concord, North Carolina to support the production of the Infantry Squad Vehicle (ISV). The company recently showed off the vehicle, which was part of the contract to create an agile all-terrain troop carrier. GM Defense won the $214.3 million contract for the production of the vehicles from the U.S. Army in June 2020 and the first ISV was delivered in October.

Construction at the 75,000-square-foot facility is expected to continue into early spring, with vehicle deliveries expected to begin in April. The facility will help to manufacture 649 ISVs and will support the production of up to 2,065 vehicles with additional authorization over eight years.

The location of the facility puts it near Hendrick Motorsports, which is already a Chevrolet partner for its various racing teams. Hendrick Motorsports is responsible for providing the chrome-moly steel exoskeleton of the vehicle frame, including the ISV ROPS system.

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New electric SUV

Honda teases its first EV

The Prologue will go on sale as a 2024 model.

Honda

Honda is nearing the unveiling of its first electric vehicle, the Prologue, and today the automaker gave us our first glimps of the new vehicle. It's just a sketch, but Honda did share some production details and information on its product roadmap.

Honda DealerHonda plans to sell half a million EVs by the end of the decade. Honda

Honda says the Prologue will be an adventure-ready SUV "capable of satisfying everyday driving and weekend getaways with a strong hint of the well-received Honda e in the front fascia." The SUV was developed in Honda's Design Studio in Los Angeles, and was designed with an eye on Honda's global EV models. Honda said it focused on aerodynamics and fine-tuning the body to reducelines and improve range.

The Japanese automaker developed the Prologue alongside GM, but it has other EVs coming to market by 2026. By 2030, Honda says it will release 30 new EVs globally with a production volume of two million units. The co-developed vehicle is the first, but the rest will be built on Honda e:Architecture. In 2027, the automaker will begin building and selling a line of affordable EVs using the architecture developed with General Motors. Honda says it plans to sell half a million EVs in North America by the end of hte decade.

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The Denali Ultimate trim is new for 2023.

GMC

The GMC Yukon has always been a luxurious family hauler with beefy capability, but it moved even more upmarket in recent years with added tech and upscale interior materials. GMC just announced an even cushier version of the SUV for the 2023 model year. The Yukon Ultimate Denali gets unique styling touches and upgrades that take the already plush SUV to another level.

2023 GMC Yukon Denali Ultimate22-inch wheels are standard GMC

The Denali Ultimate gets exclusive upgrades over other trims that include 22-inch wheels and chrome accents outside. The full-size SUV just got a complete redesign for 2021, which brought updated boxy styling, and a sleek look, so there are no additional exterior changes for 2023.

GMC offers three engines in the standard Yukon, but only two make it into the Ultimate. The standard powertrain includes a 6.2-liter V8 that produces 420 horsepower. A 3.0-liter turbodiesel is also available that makes 277 horsepower and a whopping 460 pound-feet of torque. A ten-speed automatic transmission is standard for all engines, and four-wheel drive is available.

Inside, the Ultimate comes with Alpine Umber full-grain leather upholstery with 16-way power front seats and massaging. Trim-exclusive contrast stitching and aluminum trim accent the space, and the top model gets an 18-speaker Bose audio system with stainless steel speaker grilles.

2023 GMC Yukon Denali UltimateGrained leather upholstery and upscale interior finishes are standard. GMC

A 10.2-inch infotainment touchscreen comes standard, and offers Google services built in. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also standard, along with wireless phone charging. A Wi-Fi hotspot and Amazon Alexa functionality are available. GMC also offers Super Cruise hands-free driving system in the Denali Ultimate.

GMC hasn’t detailed pricing for the new SUV yet, but we expect it to start at a premium over the standard Denali, which starts at just over $70,000.

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