General Motors investing $68M in Rochester plant

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General Motors announced Friday it was making a $68 million investment at its Rochester manufacturing facility.

The move will help position the company at the forefront of the rapidly growing electric vehicle market, as well as producing components for GM’s next-generation V-8 light-duty truck engines.

According to GM, $12 million will be invested to prepare the facility to build intake manifolds and fuel rails for use in the production of V-8 internal combustion engines at its Flint facility. In addition, the investment includes $56 million for the production of battery pack cooling lines for EV production.

The announcement was made Friday by Doneen McDowell, GM’s executive director of manufacturing, in front of a crowd of workers and local dignitaries at the company’s manufacturing plant on Lexington Avenue.

McDowell said the announcement was part of a larger $918 million overall investment among four GM facilities to support the production of the new “sixth generation” engines.

Doneen McDowell, General Motors' executive director of manufacturing, speaks with reporters at Rochester's GM facility on Lexington Avenue on January 20, 2023.Doneen McDowell, General Motors' executive director of manufacturing, speaks with reporters at Rochester's GM facility on Lexington Avenue on January 20, 2023.

Doneen McDowell, General Motors’ executive director of manufacturing, speaks with reporters at Rochester’s GM facility on Lexington Avenue on January 20, 2023.

“Facility renovations and updates to support the production of ‘Gen6’ engine components in Rochester will begin shortly,” McDowell said. “Together, these investments for Rochester operations play strategic rules in our GM growth strategy.”

McDowell said that truck and SUV dominance is a cornerstone of that strategy, along with a transition to electric vehicles. Rochester is uniquely positioned because of its ability to build components for both electric and internal combustion vehicles.

GM employs approximately 750 people at its Rochester facility, and McDowell said that the company expects to add more employees as the demand for electric vehicles grows through the end of the decade.

“It could be up to 100 people over the next two years,” McDowell told reporters.

Officials with General Motors say the investments in Rochester and elsewhere will enable the company to strengthen its full-size truck and SUV business and continue to support the company’s growing EV product portfolio.

“Today we are announcing significant investments to strengthen our industry-leading lineup of full-size pickups and SUVs by preparing four U.S. facilities to build GM’s sixth generation small block V-8 engine,” said Gerald Johnson, GM executive vice president of Global Manufacturing and Sustainability. “These investments, coupled with the hard work and dedication of our team members in Flint, Bay City, Rochester, and Defiance, enable us to build world-class products for our customers and provide job security at these plants for years to come.”

Local elected officials praised GM’s local investment and called it a significant commitment to the plant’s future, one that had been in doubt not too long ago.

Sen. Charles Schumer spoke Friday about his efforts to keep the Rochester plant from closing when the auto industry crashed in 2008.

Sen. Charles Schumer speaking with workers at Rochester's General Motors facility on Lexington Avenue on January 20, 2023.Sen. Charles Schumer speaking with workers at Rochester's General Motors facility on Lexington Avenue on January 20, 2023.

Sen. Charles Schumer speaking with workers at Rochester’s General Motors facility on Lexington Avenue on January 20, 2023.

“I remember the dark days when it looked like this plant might close, but now it has a bright and long-term future,” Schumer said. “This is a great day for that four-letter word, j-o-b-s. Keeping the jobs that we have here, and there’s a very good bet we’ll have more of them. Hopefully, your children will be able to work in this plant with good-paying union jobs.”

Rep. Joe Morelle said the announcement reflected a concerted effort to build back America’s manufacturing base.

“We are going to be able to compete with manufacturing anywhere in the world, particularly with our adversaries in China. We are going to build manufacturing back,” Morelle said. “Today’s announcement is so much more than just an investment in GM’s Rochester facility – it’s an investment in the future of our workforce, our economy, and our families.”

Contact reporter Sean Lahman at slahman@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter @seanlahman

This article originally appeared on Rochester Democrat and Chronicle: General Motors investing $68M in Rochester NY plant