Heavy Metal: GM Invests Millions in Ohio


General Motors seems bent on preparing some of its existing facilities as supporting players for future programs. The company has announced a $46 million investment in the metal stamping operation in Parma, Ohio, a town located about 20 minutes south of Cleveland that has nothing to do with the tasty cheese one puts on their pasta.

The investment will be used for equipment upgrades and other preparations at the facility to support as-yet-unnamed future product programs. Currently, the Parma plant produces sheet metal stampings and assemblies for multiple GM product programs across all four brands – Chevy, Cadillac, Buick, and GMC. According to the company, renovations will begin immediately. If only contractors I’ve dealt with in the past were as prompt.

Roughly 1,000 employees work at Parma, with about 85 percent of them classed as hourly and represented by UAW Local 1005. The plant is said to process over 800 tons of steel per day and services or supports the majority of GM vehicles produced in North America. Manufacturing processes include press lines or multiple sizes, high-speed progressive presses, and GMNA’s largest stand-alone laser welding metal assembly operation of its type.

“Our Parma operation is a long-time leader in metal stamping capabilities and this investment reflects our confidence in the employees at Parma,” said Phil Kienle, GM vice president of North America Manufacturing and Labor Relations.  “This investment will help the Parma team continue producing high quality, sheet metal stampings for a variety of future GM products.”

While no one at the company is willing to speak about what projects are in the hopper, it’s a safe bet to assume a good portion of the work will involve electric vehicles. After all, Cadillac has made it clear they plan to exist this decade as a purveyor of EVs, and all other GM brands are busying themselves with battery-powered vehicles of different shapes and sizes.

This investment is in addition to the $6 million GM committed to the facility roughly one year ago. That money was part and parcel of a larger effort with the Tonawanda engine plant in New York to help GM ramp up production of the highly profitable Silverado 1500 and Sierra 1500 pickup trucks. At Parma, the money was spent on new metal assembly cells, a sensible decision since the place is responsible for the majority of steel used in GM’s North American production.

Parma Metal Center has a long history as part of GM’s manufacturing efforts in this country, dating all the way back to 1948.

[Image: GM]

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