By on May 2, 2019

2017 GMC Canyon SLT Diesel - Image: GMC

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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13 Comments on “Report: GM Planning Big Investment in Missouri Truck/Van Plant...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    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?

    If I was shaking a Magic 8 Ball and asking this question I think the answer would be “yes.”

  • avatar
    gomez

    Calling the Express/Savana “aged” is an understatement. The vehicle dates back to 1995.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    That is excellent news for the St. Louis region, which used to actually be the second largest maker of cars in the country, behind Detroit.

    GM had a plant for trucks and Corvettes in the city of St. Louis until the ’80s, and Ford and Chrysler both had large operations there until the Aughts.

    Know what would be even better news for the Lou? World Series ring #12.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Cleveland Indians fan says: BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        My hat’s off if you’re a lifelong Tribe fan.

        I’d actually love to see a St. Louis – Cleveland series – two banged-up Midwestern cities duking it out. Love it.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          Lifelong Indians, Cavilers, and Browns. Right before Cleveland finally won a championship I ALMOST bought a t-shirt that said: “Browns, Indians, Cavilers – Just ONE before I die.”

    • 0 avatar
      redgolf

      I remember when I hired into the Bowling Green Corvette plant in 84 most all of the workers already working there were from the St. Louis area and many wanted to go back home but GM was being tuff and not allowing it.I on the other hand was glad to have a job at such a prestigious plant, only to be laid off 18 months later as the second shift got cut! It was the start of my GM Gypsy Tour!

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    GM has US plants? I thought only Hyundai-Kia and Toyota did. Weird.

  • avatar
    nrd515

    Wouldn’t it be nice if GM made an investment in good looking vehicles? Those days are getting to be a long time ago..

  • avatar
    mikey

    “Wouldn’t it be nice if GM made an investment in good looking vehicles ? ”

    Why ??…Producing ugly vehicles has proven to be quite successful for Toyota .

    Just saying !

  • avatar
    redgolf

    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!

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    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.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      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.


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