GM Breaks Ground on $200 Million Stamping Facility

A new General Motors sheet metal stamping plant facility will add 180 jobs to the city and further the company’s commitment to the community said company and community leaders on Friday.

Standing in a gravel lot where the facility will be constructed, city leaders and company officials touted the $200 million project at a ceremonial groundbreaking Friday at the GM assembly plant.

“This is huge for the city,” Mayor Robert Cluck said. “The partnership between this company and our city is absolutely remarkable.”

The new stamping facility, which will be built adjacent to the assembly plant, will produce exterior parts such as doors, hoods, and side panels for the next generation of full-size SUVs. The plant will begin producing sometime in 2013.

Currently, these parts are stamped at several other plants across the county, mostly in the Midwest, and shipped to Arlington. Having an on-site stamping facility will increase production efficiency and save GM roughly $40 million a year in transportation and logistics costs, said Paul Graham, GM Arlington plant manager.

Cranking out more than 1,100 vehicles a day, the Arlington plant is the only one in the country that produces GM’s large sports utility vehicles, such as the Chevrolet Tahoe, Suburban, GMC Yukon, and Cadillac Escalade. The plant, now more than 3.5 million square feet, opened in 1954.

The stamping facility is in addition to a $331 million investment by GM launched in 2011 to expand the body shop and purchase tooling and equipment. That project is ongoing.

Shop Chairperson Belinda Langley thanked the City of Arlington for helping the plant “turn our vision into a reality.” With more than 2,500 employees, the plant is already the city’s largest private employer.

To help lure the stamping facility, the Arlington City Council approved a 10-year, 90-percent tax abatement for GM on new buildings and equipment. The tax break will save GM more than $1 million annually, and Arlington agreed to waive building permit fees and other development fees.

Cluck said the deal was good business.

“People question whether we should do tax incentives,” he said. “You bet we should. If we didn’t, this plant would be somewhere else.”

Also Friday, GM, GM Foundation, and United Auto Workers gave $82,000 in contributions to local charities, including River Legacy Foundation, Arlington Independent School District Foundation, Junior Achievement of the Chisholm Trail, Community Food Bank, and United Way of Tarrant County.

“Our plant could not be successful without the strong support from our local community,” Graham said. “We are pleased to give back to our community.”

By Sarah Bahari