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New GM Trucks Unveiled; More Hires for Tonawanda

5:47 PM, Dec 13, 2012   |    comments
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Video: New GM pickups to use Tonawanda plant engines

2014 Silverado; photo courtesy: GM

PONTIAC, Mich. -- General Motors shows off its most important new vehicles Thursday, the overdue 2014 Chevrolet and GMC full-size pickups. The engines for those new vehicles will be produced at the GM Powertrain plant in Tonawanda with 500 people hired to produce the engines.

Delayed by GM's visit to Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in 2009, their re-do now must be strong enough to compensate for the lag. From GM's view, they simply must be that good; the alternative is unthinkable.

The full-size Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra are the company's biggest sellers and biggest earners, and they run head-on into Chrysler's updated 2013 Ram and Ford's F-150, updated in 2011, freshened for 2013 and heavily advertised the whole time. Both have challenged GM's aging trucks for sales and market share.

"This (launch) is incredibly, crazy-important for GM.  These trucks will have to hit it out of the park," says Rebecca Lindland, veteran auto industry analyst at consultant IHS Automotive.

A spokesperson for the GM Powertrain Plant in Tonawanda says the six and eight cylinder engines for the new pickups are being produced at their plant. This is part of the $470 Million dollar investment in production lines announced at the Powertrain plant by GM two years ago. 

  GM Powertrain Plant Manager Steve Finch says of those 500 projected new hires, preference will go to about 300 people in the UAW who could transfer in from the former Delphi operations in Lockport, Rochester, and other locations. GM acquired some of those operations from Delphi in recent years. The remaining 200 hires could be from a pool of qualified applicants which plant officials have already identified. The current plant workforce is about 1,100 but these additional hires could put the plant above 1,600.  

Back in October, the Powertrain plant announced a new eight cylinder engine for the new 2014 Corvette sports car would be produced in Tonawanda and that it would add more jobs to the workforce.    

WEB EXTRA: USA Today Photo Gallery of GM Trucks

 James Healey from USA TODAY contributed to this report.

 

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