Thursday, September 25, 2008

GM to Build Volt Engine Plant in Flint

This morning, Mittens Romney went on the Today Show and basically proved to the nation that the Michigan Republicans really need to work on some new talking points. Seriously guys, this is getting real stale. First of all, "one state recession?" Um, don't know if Mitt has been keeping up with current events lately... but that one doesn't work anymore, if it ever did in the first place. For obvious reasons. Moving on.

Romney also brought up the "automakers in the South" gambit... and well, turns out that might not work anymore, either. This week GM announced that they have decided to invest heavily in Flint, starting construction immediately on a new plant that will supply the engine for the Volt and the Chevy Cruze.

The "green" car movement, for GM, starts right here in Michigan. How you like us now, Mitt?

GM will start building the 552,000-square-foot plant immediately with construction expected to finish in 2010. The investment is expected to retain about 300 hourly jobs. GM employs about 6,000 at five facilities in Flint, down from about 60,000 during its heyday.

Two engines will be built here: A 1.4-liter turbo engine for the new Chevrolet Cruze, scheduled to debut next year, and a 1.4-liter naturally aspirated engine for the Volt.

The engines are expected to play a role in GM doubling global production of small four-cylinder engines by 2011. Flint will be the exclusive North American engine plant for the Volt.

GM is banking on the Volt, but it still has a way to go. Check out some pictures of the Volt - it's a slick looking car, and if they can work out the fine details...

The Volt is viewed as the most important vehicle being developed by a financially strapped automaker besieged by a consumer shift away from profitable pickups and sport utility vehicles.

But it still must withstand engineering and product testing. It is expected to be available in November 2010 and cost as much as $40,000. The Volt relies on a lithium-ion battery that will let commuters travel up to 40 miles on electric power alone. It also has a four-cylinder, 1.4-liter engine that kicks in once the battery is depleted and powers a generator that recharges the battery and keeps the vehicle running for several hundred additional miles.

One last thing - can't the Michigan Republicans find someone from MICHIGAN to speak for them?

Just sayin'.

Anyway, congrats to GM, to Flint, and to our state.