General Motors Company [NYSE:GM] is overhauling the structure of its powertrain division, including investing up to $200 million in the construction of a new testing facility and consolidating several other facilities with its Global Powertrain Engineering Headquarters in Pontiac, Michigan. The move is part of the automaker’s $1.5 billion planned investment in its North American facilities in 2013.
Currently, GM has separate powertrain divisions installed in leased facilities around the country. They include engineering divisions in Wixom, Michigan, Castleton, Indiana and Torrance, California; propulsion system research units in Warren, Michigan; and a hydrogen fuel cell center in Honeoye Falls, New York.
Over the coming year, all of these separate divisions will be consolidated with the Global Powertrain Engineering Headquarters in Pontiac. The move should help reduce development times as well as costs for GM’s next-generation powertrains. There’s been no mention of any job cuts, though the automaker has promised that 400 extra jobs will be added to the Pontiac center.
A new testing facility will also be created, providing up to 138,000 additional square feet of work space. It will allow engineers to test engines under extreme conditions, including cold ambient temperatures, high revs, and repetitive starting and stopping, to improve durability, reliability and quality.
“These moves will help our entire powertrain team work more effectively across the organization to develop the powertrain technologies we need,” GM’s global engine boss, Sam Winegarden, said in a statement.
GM powertrain division consolidation
The latest announcement actually brings to a close a consolidation process that began in 2008, where seven separate Michigan engineering divisions were moved to GM’s Global Powertrain Engineering Headquarters.
Note, the popular Performance Build Center, currently located in Wixom, where Corvette customers can help build the V-8 engines that will power their sports cars, will also be moved under GM’s powertrain division consolidation. The Performance Build Center, along with its Corvette Engine Build Experience program, will be relocated to the Corvette factory in Bowling Green, Kentucky, early next year.
The move will eventually allow Corvette customers to combine the experience of watching their car being assembled with participating in the build of their vehicle’s high-performance engine.
GM hasn’t mentioned what engines will be built at the relocated Performance Build Center, though an announcement is expected soon. The new 6.2-liter LT1 V-8 that will power the latest 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is currently being produced at GM’s Tonawanda engine plant in Buffalo, New York.
Previously, the Performance Build Center’s Corvette Engine Build Experience program was only available to customers of the Z06 or ZR1 models. However, the facility was also responsible for the Corvette Grand Sport’s LS3 engine.