GM to invest $600 million in Kansas City car plant

DETROIT Mon Jan 28, 2013 1:01pm EST

DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Co (GM.N) on Monday said it will invest $600 million at its assembly plant in Kansas City, Kansas, to build a new paint shop and make other upgrades.

The investment is part of the U.S. automaker's previously announced plan to spend $1.5 billion on its North American plants this year, up from the $436 million last year. GM invests $8 billion annually on its operations globally.

GM builds the Chevrolet Malibu and Buick LaCrosse cars at the Fairfax Assembly Plant in Kansas City, and the Detroit company said production there will not be affected by the work over the next two years after it begins later this year. The work includes adding a 450,000-square-foot paint shop, installing a new stamping press and other upgrades, and is one of the company's largest plant investments ever.

The plant, which employs almost 3,900 people, built more than 283,000 cars last year, up from 279,117 in 2011.

GM, which has invested $10.2 billion in the North American market since its 2009 bankruptcy and $50 billion U.S. taxpayer-funded bailout, has said it will refresh 70 percent of its U.S. vehicle lineup in 2012 and 2013.

The new paint shop will occupy a new building and includes substantial technology upgrades, including up to 50-percent less energy use per vehicle and reduced emissions as well as reduced water use, GM said. The new stamping press will replace the current middle press used to create some of the structural reinforcements for vehicle body frames, and is expected to improve vehicle quality.

(Reporting By Ben Klayman in Detroit; editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid)

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