GM to Sink More Cash Into Lansing Crossover Plant

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
gm to sink more cash into lansing crossover plant

On Monday, General Motors stated its intent to invest $36 million into Lansing Delta Township Assembly, maker of large crossovers since its inception.

Little info was provided on the details of the investment, and GM claims the cash won’t expand Lansing’s complement of 2,600 employees. GM CEO Mary Barra said the investment is needed to “prepare the plant for future crossover production.”

Let’s indulge in a little speculation.

“We are proud of the hard work and commitment of the entire Lansing team and the Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave are important products in our growing crossover portfolio,” Barra said in a statement. The money is said to fund a mid-cycle refresh of the two models. Ho-hum. But where could GM take its quest to put crossovers in every driveway in America?

Lansing Delta Township, GM’s youngest domestic plant, is the ancestral home of the automaker’s largest unibody vehicles, opening in 2006 to build the automaker’s new Lambda-platform crossovers: Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia, and Saturn Outlook. The plant has soaked up $600 million in investments over the past decade.

While down to two models since the Acadia’s departure, the plant is a busy one, running two shifts with overtime. The strong sales performance of the Enclave and especially the Traverse makes one wonder about a white space in GMC’s lineup: a vehicle larger than the now-midsize Acadia ( refreshed for the 2020) and the full-size, body on frame Yukon and Yukon XL. It’s not the only empty space in GMC’s stable, but it’s less talked about than the absence of a sub-Terrain crossover or an off-road focused model.

True, the Acadia is more of a gap-filler than the two-row Chevy Blazer, but there’s little doubt that a large, GMC crossover built atop the platform shared by the Enclave and Traverse would sell well; the Traverse was the third best-selling Chevy-badged vehicle last year, unloading 146,534 units in the United States. Meanwhile, GMC’s Denali sub-brand is a license to print money. It’s worth noting that, in the waning days of 2018, GM trademarked the Envoy name, which might not signify anything other than the General wanting to keep a defunct model name in the family.

Beyond this thin gruel, there’s no indication GMC has any intention of going “big” on new product. Brand boss Duncan Aldred stated in the past that the lower end of the ladder is the “logical” place for new model introductions.

The automaker’s preemptive response to questions arising from its LDT plant investment is, “For competitive reasons, GM is not disclosing specifics or timing related to the plant’s future products at this time.”

[Image: General Motors]

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  • CKNSLS Sierra SLT CKNSLS Sierra SLT on Feb 18, 2019

    1999 18,315 2000 50,786 2001 34,710 2002- 29,042 2003 26,259 2004 - 20,010 2005 16,283 Yep-the market really loved the Excursion-just look at the massive sales numbers.....:)

  • WildcatMatt WildcatMatt on Feb 19, 2019

    If they're running two shifts with overtime, I'd be curious to know how that translates to plant optimization, since that seems to be a large part of the plant closure equation.

  • Zipper69 How much of a bite of the market has the BRONCO taken?The "old technology" of the Cherokee can't compete...
  • JMII So this pretty much confirms the long standing rumor that the C8 platform was designed for hybrid AWD support. If this is even faster then the current Z06 it will be a true rocket ship. GM was already hinting that even more impressive C8 was coming, most assume a turbo ZR1 but an e-assist AWD package seems more like... and apparently it will be called E-Ray.
  • Tassos the announcement is unnecessarily verbose, aka full of it. Most 'justifications" for the shutdown are shameless lies.
  • Jwee I can post images...?????
  • Jwee @Bobby D'OppoThere is no element of the reported plan that involves taking people's carsSeems like you missed the Southpark reference: comment was humor (or humour if you prefer). The city council is not literally taking people's cars, but seems like they wouldn't mind a drop in car ownership. More cyclists! Less pollution! More public transport! A £70 fine per violation! Surely if they came out and said "we are going to take your car", they would get a very stern letter written to them in the strongest language possible, or perhaps even called a bunch of rotters. I am all for good transport networks, but this is just a terrible plan. Visit Amsterdam, and study how to manage traffic skillfully in a dense, medieval city, with no traffic cameras whatsoever, with first rate public transport, where pedestrians, bikes, boats and cars coexist.