This GM Plant Isn't Unhappy

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
this gm plant isnt unhappy

General Motors’ Spring Hill, Tennessee assembly complex has reason not to worry about the automaker’s current round of cost-cutting and plant mothballing. There’s not a car in sight.

On Thursday, the General forked over another $22 million to facilitate production of a thriftier version of its revered 6.2-liter V8 truck engine, which brings total investment in Spring Hill to over $2 billion this decade alone.

Spring Hill added 6.2-liter V8s to its propulsion mix back in 2016, but this version of the mill adds Dynamic Fuel Management for increased fuel economy. Destined for GM’s Silverado/Sierra twins and full-size SUVs, the engine shuts off cylinders in 17 different patterns, depending on engine speed and load. Under certain conditions, said trucks can make headway on the strength of one cylinder.

DFM joins the automaker’s tech grab bag for 2019; 5.3-liter V8s see it, as well. If you’re curious about DFM’s method of operation, GM explains it here:

An electromechanical system deactivates and reactivates all 16 of the engine’s hydraulic valve lifters, controlling valve actuation. The system uses solenoids to deliver oil pressure to control ports in the lifters, which activate and deactivate the lifters’ latching mechanisms. When a cylinder is deactivated, the two-piece lifters effectively collapse on themselves to prevent them from opening the valves. When the cylinder is reactivated, solenoids send an oil pressure signal to the control ports on the lifters and the latching mechanism restores normal function, allowing the valves to open and close.

Vehicles rolling out of Spring Hill, once home to the Saturn lineup, include the GMC Acadia and Cadillac XT5, but 2019 brings a new occupant. Funded by a $300 million cash dump, Cadillac’s edgy-in-the-front, bland-as-hell-in-the-back XT6 crossover goes into production later this year, filling a glaring gap in the brand’s lineup. That vehicle should add a further 200 jobs to the plant, which currently employs about 3,800 workers.

Is there a better recipe for job security than big truck engines and midsize crossovers?

While it’s high times at Spring Hill, other North American plants can’t say the same. Late last year, the automaker announced it would cut off the flow of product heading to Detroit-Hamtramck, Lordstown, and Canada’s Oshawa Assembly. Two transmission facilities in Michigan and Maryland also stand to close in 2019.

Oshawa’s closure looks like a done deal, but the fate of the company’s Detroit and Ohio facilities hinge on UAW contract negotiations taking place this summer.

[Images: General Motors]

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3 of 19 comments
  • Akear Akear on Jan 26, 2019

    Wow, that is one cheap looking interior.

    • Sgeffe Sgeffe on Jan 26, 2019

      Can you see anything at all out of that rearview mirror? Not only is that thing shaped like the facial expression of a demented clown (which seems to be a pathological obsession in the auto industry), but the thing looks smaller than those old mirrors in GM cars pre-OnStar that had the built-in map lights. Meaning that you can only see about half of what’s behind you! SMH!

  • Cognoscenti Cognoscenti on Jan 28, 2019

    I would not be surprised if there is a tune available soon from most of the aftermarket tuners that disables AFM variants on these trucks. I know that I'd buy it!

  • FifaCup Loving both Interior and exterior designs.
  • FifaCup This is not good for the auto industry
  • Jeff S This would be a good commuter vehicle especially for those working in a large metropolitan area. The only thing is that by the time you put airbags, backup cameras, and a few of the other required safety features this car would no longer be simple and the price would be not much cheaper than a subcompact. I like the idea but I doubt a car like this would get marketed in anyplace besides Europe and the 3rd World.
  • ScarecrowRepair That's what I came to say!
  • Inside Looking Out " the plastic reinforced with cotton waste used on select garbage vehicles assembled by the Soviet Union. "Wrong. The car you are talking about was the product German engineering, East German. It's name was Trabant.