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DETROIT (AP) — General Motors says it will invest about $275 million at its Ft. Wayne pickup truck plant.
The money will prepare the plant to build the next generation of Chevrolet and GMC full-sized pickups.
GM says the investment will add or keep 150 jobs, but a spokeswoman says she doesn’t know how many new jobs will be created.
The Ft. Wayne plant now has 3,400 employees who work three shifts per day building the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups.
The new trucks are expected for the 2013 model year, but GM hasn’t said when they’ll go on sale.
GM said in May that it would invest $2 billion at 17 plants in eight states. The Ft. Wayne investment is the last announcement of the $2 billion.
Wednesday's announcement was no surprise since for months GM was expected to name the Fort Wayne truck assembly plant as the site to build the next generation of the Silverado and Sierra. The operation already makes the vehicles during three shifts.
GM is profitable again and making a major investment in Allen County, which is what the public notices most, public relations expert Mark Zucker told the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette.
Rep. Win Moses, D-Fort Wayne, agreesd. He was mayor when GM broke ground at the Allen County location more than 20 years ago. At the time, the region was grappling with the “devastating loss of International Harvester,” he said, referring to the 1983 loss of thousands of jobs.
Moses sees history repeating itself with Navistar’s decision to move 1,400 truck and engine design jobs out of Fort Wayne. “We needed this investment,” he told the Journal Gazette.
Typically, new-generation truck designs last almost a decade, which bodes well for the local plant, observers told the newspaper.