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GM to invest US$449 mil. in Detroit plants

DETROIT--General Motors plans to invest US$449 million in two Detroit-area factories to build the next-generation Chevrolet Volt hybrid electric car and two unspecified new vehicles.

The company said the investment eventually will bring a second shift at the Detroit assembly plant that makes the Volt and other cars. But it wouldn't say how many jobs would be added or when the people would be hired. The plant now employs about 1,600 on a single shift.

GM says it will invest US$384 million at the assembly plant and another US$65 million in a battery pack plant in nearby Brownstown Township.

The company also didn't release any details on the next generation Volt. The current version can go about 38 miles on battery power before a small gasoline generator kicks in.

The assembly plant, which straddles the border of Detroit and the enclave of Hamtramck, also makes the Opel Ampera, a version of the Volt sold in Europe and other areas, and the Cadillac ELR, a luxury version of the Volt. The same assembly line also makes the Chevrolet Impala and Malibu sedans.

Spokesman Dave Darovitz said the company also confirmed that two future products would go to the plant, but he would not identify them. One is likely to be a new large rear-wheel-drive Cadillac now code-named the Omega.

Darovitz said the battery plant, which now employs about 100 people, also will see additional hiring. But he said the number of new jobs at both plants will be revealed at a later date.

GM says that since 2009 it has announced more than US$5.4 billion worth of investments in its U.S. facilities, including more than US$2.8 billion in Michigan.

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