KANSAS CITY, Kan. — General Motors Co. announced plans Monday to pour $600 million into upgrades at its assembly plant in Kansas City, Kan., an investment that likely ensures the facility’s long-term viability.
Construction on a new 450,000-square-foot paint shop, a stamping press and efficiency enhancements at the Fairfax Assembly Plant will begin this year and should take about two years to complete, GM chairman and chief executive Dan Akerson said.
“This major investment is a vote of confidence in the employees and leadership of this plant and will allow them to continue producing beautiful, world-class vehicles … with the same quality workmanship that has defined the Fairfax complex for nearly 70 years,” Akerson said on a visit to the plant.
Akerson told a crowd that included Gov. Sam Brownback, Mayor Joe Reardon and a few hundred Fairfax employees that the company was experiencing a “renaissance” and that the Fairfax plant would be among the automaker’s “crown jewels.” He said the $600 million was among the largest single-plant investments in GM’s history.
GM, one of the Kansas’ largest employers, announced this month it would invest about $1.5 billion in its North American facilities in 2013. The company has invested about $2.5 billion in the Fairfax plant in the past decade, showing the company’s commitment to Kansas City, Akerson said.
GM nearly ran out of cash in 2008 and needed a $49.5 billion bailout from the U.S. government to stay in business.