GM Announces $500M in Arlington Plant Upgrades

GM General VP Gerald Johnson | Image by James Bennett/The Dallas Express

ARLINGTON — General Motors (GM) announced on Thursday that it plans to invest more than $500 million in the Arlington assembly plant for the production of next-generation, gas-powered SUVs.

Product details and timing related to the upgrades were not released at a press conference with company officials, employees, local politicians, and media, including The Dallas Express. GM officials did say that Arlington’s sprawling, 4-million-square-foot facility would receive new tooling and equipment in its stamping, body shop, and general assembly areas.

“We are announcing plans for a significant investment in Arlington to strengthen our industry-leading, full-size SUV business,” said Gerald Johnson, GM’s executive vice president of global manufacturing and sustainability.

“Preparing the plant to produce future full-size SUVs reflects our commitment to our valued customers and the efforts of the dedicated Arlington assembly employees who have been breaking production records this year.”

Nearly 5,200 full-time employees work in Arlington. The plant runs 24/7, with three different eight-hour shifts. The investment stabilizes those jobs into the next decade, GM said.

“This is a great day for Tarrant County,” County Judge Tim O’Hare said. “The finest vehicles in the world are made here in Tarrant County.”

O’Hare was making his first visit to the Arlington facility on Thursday. The first-term county judge said he used to drive by the plant as a child, going to Texas Rangers games with his family.

“This plant is a strong economic engine for Tarrant County,” O’Hare added. “It’s a great place for jobs, and with this $500-million investment, it will be an even stronger economic engine.”

GM in Arlington produces the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, GMC Yukon and Yukon XL and Cadillac Escalade, Escalade ESV, and Escalade V. The company has led worldwide full-size truck sales for 48 straight years and nine consecutive years for full-size luxury vehicles.

“Demand for our products never stops,” Johnson said. “There’s always a customer waiting for one of our Yukons or Escalades, Tahoes or Suburbans. This investment makes about $2 billion we’ve spent in Arlington in the last decade.”

United Auto Workers Local 276 Chairman Kenny Hines said the investment was a “recognition of the great work that’s going on in this facility.”

Arlington Plant Manager John Urbanic said it would not have happened without teamwork between GM and the UAW in ensuring quality manufacturing. SUVs continue to be in high demand and the most profitable part of GM’s business success.

“It also reflects our competitiveness in finding new ways to grow our business,” Urbanic said.

GM set a goal in 2021 of exclusively producing electric vehicles by 2035. The Arlington plant does not have the capacity to make EVs but may in the near future.

“Our company leaders have been very transparent about what the GM vision is over the next 15-20 years,” Urbanic said. “Internal combustion vehicles play a critical role enabling what our longer-term vision is.”

Gov. Greg Abbott did not attend the announcement but released a statement about the news.

“For more than half a century, Arlington Assembly has played an integral role in the economic success of the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metroplex,” Abbott said. “GM’s half-a-billion-dollar investment in their North Texas plant will strengthen Texas’ position as a global manufacturing leader and continue creating good-paying jobs for generations of Texans.”

The Arlington plant first opened nearly 70 years ago, bringing high-paying blue-collar jobs to the region, Arlington Mayor Jim Ross said. He praised former Mayor Tom Vandergriff for convincing GM to open a Texas plant in 1954 and for being instrumental in the Texas Rangers Major League Baseball team’s move from Washington to Arlington in 1970. Vandergriff was mayor from 1951-1977 and served one term in Congress (1983-1985).

“He was the most visionary mayor this city has ever seen in its existence,” Ross said Thursday. “God bless that man for his vision and passion for Arlington. If it wasn’t for him, none of this would be going on.”


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