GM Invests In US Plants, Gearing Up For 10-Speed Auto Production Photo:
Mike Stevens | Dec, 17 2013 | 6 Comments

The shockwaves of General Motors' exit from Australian manufacturing are still being felt - and will for some time to come - but today the carmaker has outlined plans for heavy new investment in its US manufacturing operations.

In a statement released at the company's Detroit headquarters, GM announced it will invest nearly US$1.3 billion (AU$1.45b) at five US plants in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana.

Among these, GM plans to ramp up production of its new 10-speed automatic transmission - jointly developed with Ford - and boost production capacity for its V6 petrol engine and six-speed auto transmission.

The upgrades, which will also include a new paint shop and logistics centre, comes as part of the roughly $8 billion that GM spends each year on its global operations.

"Today's announced plant upgrades continue the momentum of a resurgent auto industry," GM North American President Mark Reuss said.

"More importantly, these investments add up to higher quality and more fuel-efficient vehicles."

The carmaker has yet to reveal full details of the new 10-speed auto.

It is understood the system will be mechanically identical in Ford and GM models, although the mapping and shift characteristics will differ according to the different applications across their model portfolios.

The new transmission is expected to be compatible with both front- and rear-wheel-drive platforms and is expected to begin appearing soon across the sub-brands of both companies.

The news marks the latest step beyond the current top-shelf eight-speed systems.

Specialist manufacturer ZF already offers a new nine-speed auto, Hyundai is known to be developing a 10-speed of its own, and Volkswagen also confirmed its own 10-speed plans earlier this year.

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