– General Motors Co. has plans Thursday morning to make “a positive news announcement” about the 2016 Camaro and its Lansing Grand River Assembly plant.
The automaker could announce a production date at the plant for the sixth-generation muscle car that’s expected to hit dealerships by the end of this year. GM officials, plant managers and employees have indicated that work could start this fall.
A Camaro model hasn’t been made in the U.S. since the early 1990s. The fifth-generation Camaro was built at GM’s Oshawa (Ontario) Assembly plant in Canada. GM announced this month that more than 500,000 of them have been sold since mid-2009.
The in Detroit and is based on the same rear-wheel-drive underpinnings as the Cadillac ATS, which is also made at the Grand River Assembly plant.
General Motors Co. CEO Mary Barra said at the unveiling the new Camaro shows the automaker’s commitment to not only compete in the marketplace but thrive.
“I’m confident that when people get in and drive this car, not only will it delight and be something current Camaro owners want, but I think we’ll bring in an all-new customer,” Barra said.
Whether sales of the Camaro Six bring back the second shift to the Grand River Assembly plant lost this year remains to be seen. Barra said the marketplace will have to dictate if it’s needed. A retail price hasn’t been made public.
Materials such as titanium and aluminum are expected to make the new model up to 300 pounds lighter than the 2015 Camaro. It will sport a new 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that puts out 275 horsepower, through buyers can choose a more powerful V6 or V8 engine.
A GM news release says the event will include Scott Whybrew, GM’s North American manufacturing manager, Lansing regional plant manager Mike Trevorrow, United Autoworkers Local 652 president Mike Green and Al Oppenheiser, the Camaro’s chief engineer.
Trevorrow said this month the Grand River plant’s more than 1,500 employees have the type of experience needed to produce the new vehicle — no matter when the company signs of on a start date.
“To bring this kind of volume (of work) to us is always a positive for the community and the workforce itself,” Trevorrow said. “We’re expecting that it’s going to take more than what we got as we add the vehicle. And as the sales dictate, we’ll find out how big that need is.”
General Motors also has announced a $520-million investment for tooling and equipment to support future new vehicles at its Lansing Delta Township Assembly plant, part of a $5.4-billion plan to improve U.S. plants over the next three years.
GM’s Delta Township plant has up to 3,500 employees working three shifts five days a week. The Grand River plant has about 1,500 working one shift five days a week. A stamping plant in Delta employs about 300 for three shifts five days a week.