The new Chevrolet Impala will be made in the USA
The Detroit Hamtramck plant is currently the home of the Chevrolet Volt and the Opel Ampera (for the European market) but GM announced last year that when the new Chevy Malibu reaches production it will also be made at the Hamtramck facility. The next gen Chevrolet Impala will make the fourth model build there with an expected production date for the full sized Chevy sedan of 2013 or 2014. The addition of the Malibu and Impala production to Hamtramck will add two extra shifts and roughly 2,500 jobs – both hourly and salaried. The tooling and preparation efforts to add the extra vehicles and shifts will cost GM around $190, with $121 million of that dating back to the Malibu announcement last year and the other $69 million pertaining to the Impala tooling. The Impala has been produced in Canada since 1999 and production will continue for the current sedans.
Things are about to get a whole lot busier for the folks at the Hamtramck plant as not only will the next gen mid and full sized Chevrolet sedans be built there but GM is also making improvements to more than double the current production capabilities for the Chevy Volt. The company plans to begin shipping Volts to more and more US locations as well as expected sales in foreign markets; as both the Chevrolet Volt and the Opel Ampera. There are also rumors that the Volt will find its way into the booming Chinese market as either a Chevrolet or an upscale Buick model – all of which would likely bring in more work for the folks at Hamtramck. This means more shifts and more jobs – which GM will fill starting first with formerly laid-off employees before starting a new hiring process.
This is all great news for the Detroit area and the country as a whole, while also likely serving as a nice bargaining chip for the automaker as they work through contract negotiations with the UAW. However, the Canadian auto workers union has shown some pretty strong distaste in the past for GM altering production at Canadian facilities so it will be interesting how our union neighbors to the north react to this decision.