GM says it wants to get more involved in the city


By Ian Perrotta

Maybe a few Volts can help jumpstart the economy.

If that’s the case, then there is good news for Hamtramck. General Motors – which produces the Chevrolet Malibu and Volt at its Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant – recently announced it would be adding another shift to the plant.

According to Hamtramck Community and Economic Development Director Jason Friedmann, this new shift will add an additional 400-600 jobs to the facility. Currently the plant employs about 1200 people.

But the good news doesn’t end there. Friedmann, who has met with GM officials several times in the last few months, also said that the company would like to get its employees more involved in the community surrounding the Detroit-Hamtramck plant.

Though nothing yet has been made official, early ideas include the creation of a co-op program with Hamtramck Public Schools and possible incentives for employees to live in Hamtramck. You might also soon see GM employees mentoring and volunteering in the community.

Essentially, GM seems to recognize the importance of being a good corporate neighbor. Recently the GM foundation awarded $10,000 to Friends of Historical Hamtramck for their museum, and in the future the company would like to directly invest in the neighborhoods surrounding the plant.

“We have discussed a lot of projects,” said Freidmann. “The HamTram Shuttle, the city’s plans for bike lanes and trails – even creating a business/high tech incubator. Right now there are a lot of possibilities.”

In other GM news, the car company also has plans to build its new ELR extended-range electric vehicle at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant.

The luxury vehicle – a two-door, four-seat coupe – will rely on the same electric powertrain as the Volt, which can travel 38 miles on a single charge before a small gasoline-powered generator kicks on to provide auxiliary power.

Though GM won’t be adding shifts to accommodate the new production, it will be sinking about $35 million into plant upgrades.

A production-version of the ELR is expected to be unveiled at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

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