GM confirms $145 million investment for Orion plant, will build Buick Verano there

2011 Buick Excelle GT / 2012 Buick Verano

As reported yesterday, General Motors confirmed today that it will invest $145 million into its Orion Assembly Center. GM’s North American President Mark Reuss said that Orion will become home to Chevrolet”s new small car (we’re guessing he means the new Aveo) and Buick”s future compact sedan, known as the Verano (a model based on the Chevrolet Cruze).

“Verano will bring premium styling, performance and content to Buick buyers wanting a smaller car than Regal,” said Reuss. “The investment in Orion Assembly also extends GM’s local small car footprint, again increasing the number of U.S.-made small vehicles available in showrooms.”

Click here for more news on the Buick Verano.

The investment is said to keep 1,550 hourly and salaried jobs at Orion, along with 120 jobs at Pontiac Metal Center.

GM didn’t confirm any other production or timing details for the Verano or the Chevrolet small car, but said that improvements at Orion are expected to be finished by summer 2011. With that in mind, we expect the Buick Verano to hit markets in the fourth-quarter of 2011.

The 2012 Buick Verano will be the stateside version of the Buick Excelle GT (pictured here), which is currently sold in China.

Check out the press release posted after the jump.

2011 Buick Excelle GT / 2012 Buick Verano:

Press Release:

GM Invests $145 Million for Small Cars at Orion Assembly

  • Manufacturing site of future Buick compact sedan
  • Investment will help retain 1,550 jobs

Lake Orion, Mich. ““ General Motors will invest $145 million at the Orion Assembly Center, GM North American President Mark Reuss said today. Orion will be the home to Chevrolet”s new small car and Buick”s future compact sedan ““ the all-new Verano.

The investment to retool the facility will retain 1,550 hourly and salaried jobs at Orion, along with 120 jobs at Pontiac Metal Center. In June 2009, GM announced that Orion would build the next-generation of Chevrolet”s new small car. The total investment for that program is approximately $600 million, which includes the Verano.

GM has worked closely with the United Auto Workers to create new and innovative contractual language that will allow this facility to be flexible and lean ““ essential elements in the highly competitive, small car market segment.

“The UAW welcomes the news of an additional vehicle being allocated to the Orion Assembly Plant. Building small cars in the United States is very important to the UAW, Oakland County, and the State of Michigan,” said Joe Ashton, UAW vice president of the GM Department.

“Given the opportunity, our members can use their expertise and experience to build high-quality, affordable vehicles for American consumers. I would like to extend my congratulations to the members of UAW Locals 653 and 5960 for all their hard work to make this important project a successful one.”

Verano adds a premium compact entry into the market, expanding the portfolio of what is currently the fastest-growing mainstream brand in the United States.

Orion Assembly is in the process of retooling the plant, which last built GM midsize sedans, for future small cars. The improvements are expected to be finished by summer 2011.

Over its more than 27-year history, the Orion plant team members have built more than 4 million cars for GM, while setting an industry record of 10 million man hours of continuous operation without a work day lost to injury. The plant also was the first GM facility to receive the Clean Corporate Citizen designation by the State of Michigan.

No further details on production or timing for the Verano and Chevrolet”s new small car are available at this time.

– By: Omar Rana