General Motors (NYSE:GM) is set to add another 1,400 jobs at its Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant, according to unnamed sources cited by The Detroit News. Corresponding with the announcement, which is expected to come April 8, is a scheduled Automotive Press Association event the Mayor of Detroit will attend. Since the plant in question is the site where GM electric vehicles are produced, there is speculation about variations on the Chevy Volt and Cadillac ELR.
GM employees at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant assemble the Chevy Volt as well as the Chevy Malibu and Impala. Because an expansion of electric vehicle production would necessitate increased battery production, the industry sources told The Detroit News there would be a considerable investment that would include expansion in battery research and development.
General Motors appeared a step behind automakers like Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) when the electric vehicle made huge strides in installing its charging network and said plans to produce affordable long-range electric cars were moving forward. When GM revealed the $75,000 price tag of the Cadillac ELR, the reaction was negative in most auto industry circles, with much of the criticism focused on the limited electric range of the ELR, which is based on the Chevy Volt.
Since the Volt is inextricably linked to GM’s hopes for improved electric vehicle offerings, any announcement of expansions at Detroit-Hamtramck would have instant ramifications. Sources who expect GM to announce the new jobs told The Detroit News there are good chances GM’s battery facility in Brownstown could also get a boost in financing or manpower. A very sizable GM investment went to Hamtramck in December 2013.
GM pumped $121 million in new investments to the Detroit-Hamtramck plant last December with the stated goal of creating a logistics optimization center. At the time, one GM official estimated another fifty jobs would be part of the package for Detroit-Hamtramck.
One GM rep also suggested a larger hiring spree was likely if progress at the plant expanded as expected. The automaker’s movements in the electric vehicle department could never be made too soon. Should an announcement of a new 1,400 jobs arrive on April 8 per the report, it would be a step in the right direction.
Currently, the Chevy Volt and Cadillac ELR operate on a powertrain that offers drivers about 38 miles of pure electric driving range before the combustion engine kicks in and begins consuming gasoline. Tesla’s top-end Model S has an electric range over 250 miles.