General Motors is investing $208 million in the Fairfax Assembly plant to prepare the facility for production of the all-new 2008 Chevrolet Malibu.
The investment covers expansion of the plant’s body shop and the purchase of equipment needed to make the new Malibu . The plant currently builds the Malibu , Malibu MAXX and Saturn Aura, with a Hybrid Saturn Aura scheduled for release in early 2007.
The announcement was made at the plant today during a ceremony that included representatives from GM and the UAW, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Representative Dennis Moore, Kansas City Mayor Joe Reardon and other elected officials.
“This investment is a testament to the hard work of the Fairfax employees, the UAW and local and state elected officials to make the plant and business environment competitive,” said Larry Zahner, GM North America Manufacturing Manager. “GM thanks Gov. Sebelius and the Unified Government for working tirelessly to make the State of Kansas and Wyandotte County attractive to business investments.”
Gov. Sebelius led an effort to eliminate the machinery and equipment tax, which will apply to new business investments, such as the one occurring at Fairfax Assembly. Local and state elected officials also were instrumental in securing additional incentives to support the GM investment.
“This is an important step for GM to level the playing field with its competitors in the United States ,” said Fairfax Plant Manager Paul Marr. “It also demonstrates that when business, labor and government work together, we can create an environment where manufacturing can thrive.”
Even with the incentives, Fairfax Assembly will continue to pump millions of dollars into the local and state economies, Marr said. The plant typically pays more than $11 million in real and personal property taxes and the plant’s 2,900 employees receive more than $200 million in pay, much of it pumped into the local and state economies through taxes and personal spending.
“This is a great confidence builder for our members as we move into the next generation of building vehicles at Fairfax Assembly,” said UAW Local 31 Chairman John Melton. “This is a plus. The future of Fairfax Assembly greatly impacts our community as members generously contribute time and money to various schools, churches, charities and local nonprofit organizations.”
Each year Fairfax employees contribute nearly $700,000 to various charitable causes.
Fairfax employees have been honored numerous times for their work, including first place in the entry mid-size cars segment in the 2005 J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study and a silver medal in the 2006 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety “Top Safety Picks” awards for the current Malibu . Additionally, both the 2007 Saturn Aura and 2007 Chevy Malibu and Malibu MAXX received the highest safety rating from the National Institute of Highway Safety.
With its current lineup, Fairfax is playing a critical role in GM’s turnaround efforts, as well as increasing market share in the mid-size car segment.
"The all-new 2008 Malibu builds on the success of the current model assembled in Fairfax , and we’re proud to have these same employees building the new car with such a high level of quality," said Ed Peper, Chevrolet General manager. "The 2008 Malibu design brings new proportions and a fresh perspective to the mid-size car market, and Fairfax employees are going to help us execute an upscale look and feel with more premium materials and a new level of refinement in this extremely competitive segment.”
The all-new Malibu , which will make its debut in January at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit , will go on sale in the fourth quarter of 2007. With its dual-port grille design, the 2008 Malibu represents the new face of Chevrolet. It boasts a poised, wheels-at-the-corners stance with a longer hood and shorter deck appearance that conveys motion, agility and attitude. The new Malibu also features a number of striking and progressive interiors that use premium materials to demonstrate quality and value not seen before in this segment.