Report: GM Planning Big Investment in Missouri Truck/Van Plant

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
report gm planning big investment in missouri truck van plant

The news out of Missouri today claims General Motors wants to invest big in its Wentzville assembly plant, a 3.7 million square feet facility located just west of St. Louis. The plant is home to the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon midsize pickups, as well as the aged Chevy Express and GMC Savana commercial vans.

According to local reports, GM reps seeking state incentives are in talks with the governor, with a potential $1 billion investment hanging in the balance.

The initial report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (spotted by Automotive News) didn’t provide any details of GM’s intentions re: product. Instead, it details a controversial list of incentives aimed at funding job training and retooling that GM will no doubt attempt to extract from Gov. Mike Parson.

The newspaper learned of the potential plant investment via meetings held between Parsons and certain Missouri lawmakers on Wednesday. When asked, denizens of the Capitol building said they didn’t know the extent of what GM wanted from their state.

“If GM wants to invest another billion dollars in the plant in my district, I am thrilled to hear that,” said Sen. Bob Onder (R-Lake Saint Louis). “But I really didn’t hear anything today that would require new legislation or new programs above and beyond what we have.”

Wentzville Assembly opened in 1983 and employs over 3,400 hourly workers on three shifts.

“Although we have no announcements or information to share at this time, we appreciate the willingness of state officials in Missouri to work with us on potential opportunities within the state,” a GM spokesperson told AN.

NBC affiliate KSDK claims union officials have called for investments in the plant for years as a way of preserving jobs. UAW president, Glenn Kage, currently in Detroit for talks with GM brass, said word of what the automaker intends to do with that $1 billion will likely come out of the meeting.

While the Colorado/Canyon twins are expected to see a design refresh later this year, a full redesign isn’t expected until 2022. That leaves the ancient Express and Savana van — heavy-duty offerings which have only seen a couple of front-end refreshes since debuting in 1995. In 2014, GM discontinued the half-ton 1500 version of the Express/Savana, preferring to offer a smaller, badge-engineered Nissan van instead. Chevy’s City Express bowed out of the market last year.

Still, volume remains fairly stable, with 2018 being the Express’ best sales year since 2008.

With Ford flaunting its continuously improved Transit and Transit Connect, could GM’s investment have something to do with its limited (and older than old) van lineup? We’ll have to wait and see.

[Images: General Motors]

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3 of 13 comments
  • Redgolf Redgolf on May 03, 2019

    I looked at the new Blazer yesterday at the dealership, I really liked it, although I thought it resembled the Terrain, both made in Mexico, shame!

  • Eggsalad Eggsalad on May 03, 2019

    Ford and FCA have European divisions from which to "borrow" a modern van. Since the sale of Opel, GM does not. Besides, I think there are enough fleet buyers who are scared of anything "modern" so they keep buying the Express. And they didn't quit making the 1/2-ton model for any other reason than it was a drag on EPA numbers. 3/4-ton and higher vans are in a different EPA category.

    • Gtem Gtem on May 03, 2019

      I wonder how much Nissan's NV has been stepping on the toes of the Express with the "traditional" buyers insisting on BOF. I will say I see a ton of Transits, to the point of them becoming automotive white noise on the roads, good for Ford.

  • Malcolm Mini temporarily halted manual transmission production but brought it back as it was a surprisingly good seller. The downside is that they should have made awd standard with the manual instead of nixing it. Ford said recently that 4dr were 7% manual take rate and I think the two door was 15%.
  • Master Baiter It’s hard to make predictions, especially about the future. It will be interesting to see if demand for Ford’s EVs will match the production capacity they are putting on line.
  • Brett Woods 2023 Corvette base model.
  • Paul Taka Hi, where can I find 1982 Honda prelude junkyards in 50 states
  • Poltergeist Make sure you order the optional Dungdai fire suppression system.