GM has just announced four different electric pickups and vans will be built at its storied Hamtramck assembly plant in Poletown Detroit. They include an electric GMC Sierra pickup truck and Cadillac Escalade SUV. Production at Hamtramck will begin in 2021.
Located in Detroit’s “Poletown” Polish community, Hamtramck was slated to stop vehicle assembly this coming January before the recent UAW strike. Four plants were on the list as part of a restructuring plan. Only Hamtramck was spared as part of the ratified UAW contract. It currently builds Chevy Impalas and Cadillac CT6 sedans there through January 2020.
The other three have already shut down operations. Those plants are the Lordstown plant in Ohio and two transmission assembly plants. One is in Maryland and the other in Michigan.
Investing $3 Billion For All-Electric Trucks
GM will invest $3 billion to convert and upgrade the plant says LMC Automotive. LMC is an auto industry data review source for predicting product plans. It says the electric van referred to will be a full-size van.
The capacity for the plant will be 100,000 vehicles a year. At full capacity, the Hamtramck plant employs around 2,225 people. Currently, over 1,000 people work there.
Rumors have been swirling around GM bringing back the Hummer brand with a full-size EV as the first product. If that happens Hamtramck would be the likely plant to assemble it. GM has already announced it plans on building 20 all-new electric vehicles by 2023. Now we know that four of those future products will be assembled at Hamtramck.
Hamtramck First Built In 1910
The Hamtramck assembly plant goes back to the early 20th century when it was known as “Dodge Main.” It was the main assembly plant where Dodge vehicles were built until 1979. Some fabled Chrysler vehicles were built there, including the Dodge Charger and Challenger, Plymouth Barracuda and Volare, and Dodge Polara and Monaco full-size sedans.
When the property became available GM purchased it as well as some surrounding land under eminent domain. Dodge Main was demolished in the early 1980s. In all the Hamtramck facility sits on 362 acres.
GM’s plan for the property included extending it into an area with 1,400 homes, a few churches, and over 100 businesses. Large protests and lawsuits tied up GM’s plans for years. Eventually, the courts found in GM’s favor with eminent domain removing over 4,000 Poletown residents. A Jewish cemetery remains at the plant.
Over Four Million Vehicles Built
The first GM vehicles built at the new plant began in 1985. They included assorted vehicles for Buick, Oldsmobile, and Cadillac. Over the decades it has assembled a wide variety of GM cars including more recently the Chevy Volt and Cadillac EVR electric hybrids. In all GM has built over 4 million vehicles at Hamtramck.