Volt Birth Watch 120: Engine Plant Construction Halted

John Horner
by John Horner
volt birth watch 120 engine plant construction halted

The new Flint, Michigan engine plant slated to build the ICE for the Chevrolet Volt has been put into deep freeze. AP (via Yahoo) has this latest tale of woe. Word is that GM has shut down construction because it doesn’t have the cash to pay for steel structural members. The Volt’s 1.4 liter four banger is to be shared with the Chevy Cruze, and both engines are planned for the brand new factory. Why is GM constructing a new building to manufacture this engine while at the same time closing factories by the dozen? Ah, the answer is hidden in Spokeswoman Sharon Basel’s statement: “The company already makes the 1.4-liter engine at a plant in Austria, she said, giving it another option for engines.” The last thing cash strapped GM needs is another engine factory while global automotive demand is imploding. If the Volt ever appears, look for its exhaust note to have a distinctly Austrian accent. California’s Governor Schwarzenegger will be so proud! Only four short months ago GM said it would spend $370 million building the new engine plant, and scored $132.5 million in Michigan tax incentives for its efforts. Hopefully Michigan didn’t put cash on the barrel. Bailout or no, the prospects for this factory going online are only slightly better than those for the revival of the GM Rotary Engine, likewise “put on hold” decades ago.

Join the conversation
4 of 29 comments
  • Redbarchetta Redbarchetta on Dec 18, 2008
    PeteMoran that was my point. If they bought them which I don't think they did and they are selling them to save some cash it mean their cash situation has reached critical proportions. The same with trying to safe some money on construction costs by delaying the steel delivery and in turn the entire project. At best this is a $100million savings at the expense of having a product they really need to get out of this hole. Either they are bluffing to force the goverment to act quicker or they really are beyond help and cutting off their nose to spite their face. $100million is a lot of money to you and me but not in GM's finances, especially since they need the building the money is going to be spend sometime, sooner would be better. You have to spend money to make money.
  • Don1967 Don1967 on Dec 18, 2008

    The Volt is the FIRST thing GM should kill... it would be their first proactive decision in years. Building another goofy golf cart for the Global Warming crowd does NOT represent the future. It represents the social trends of 2007, when life was good and we needed a cause. But now it is late 2008, the oil bubble has burst, the economy is collapsing, and it is literally snowing in Vegas. This is GM's last chance to plan for the future. The real future.

  • Juniper Juniper on Dec 18, 2008

    KeithBates training the chimps to screw them together here in the US… Thanks for the insult. What do you do for a living? I have spent some time training PEOPLE to build engines(non automotive). I have a great deal of respect for them and their abilities.

  • KeithBates KeithBates on Dec 19, 2008

    Believe it or not, I assemble engines... SteveL