GM Makes a Big Investment in Tonawanda

Workers to Build the 2020 Silverado HD Engine

Susan Rose
February 08, 2019 - 11:50 am

WBEN Photo/Two completed HD engines ready for shipping at GM Powertrain in Tonawanda

Buffalo, N.Y. (WBEN) - A huge announcement by General Motors at the Buffalo Auto Show Friday. The Tonawanda Engine plant will be building the new 6.6L, V-8 engine for the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD. 

It's all part of a a $295 million dollar investment in the Powertrain plant.

GM Powertrain Plant Director Ram Ramanujam tells WBEN, "last Tuesday they announced in Detroit that they'll be building the new heavy duty trucks in Flint, Michigan and today we're pleased to announce that we are the plant that's building the engines that make them go".  Ramanujam says the project primarily will mean the maintaining and retention of jobs and some retooling has been completed at the facility to allow for the work.

In addition to the engine assembly in Tonawanda, Rmanujam tells WBEN the radiators will come from the Lockport plant and fuel systems from a Rochester facility.

"It's huge for Tonawanda Engine to be able to say they're going to build a high profile engine for any of the Silverado trucks," said Art Wheaton, industry analyst and Director of Labor and Environmental programs for Cornell University. 

"The Silverado is one of the biggest sellers for General Motors and their entire portfolio".  Wheaton said this is also job security for the plant's workers.  "GM feels that the Tonawanda plant is worthy or important enough to invest a couple of hundred million dollars.  That says the workforce is doing the job right and producing a quality product,"  he said. 

General Motors is in the process this week of changing it's salary structure.  They are reducing their total overall salaried employees by about 4-thousand people across the U.S. and Canada.  Wheaton said it's important that they are investing in the Tonawanda Engine Plant, and not taking away. 

The Silverado is one of the top four selling vehicles of all types in the U.S.  HD or heavy duty engines are considered profit drivers in a very competitive market.  All of the Big 3 automakers are coming out with them.

Profit Sharing

GM also announced profit sharing of up to $10,750 to more than 46,500 hourly employees.  Those checks usually arrive in March or April. 

GM Powertrain in Tonawanda employs approximately 1500 combined hourly and salaried workers.

 

 

 

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