General Motors plans to move 80 jobs from Indianapolis to Pontiac, Mich., as part of a plan to expand its engine and transmission development headquarters.
GM on Wednesday announced it will add a wing to its engine and transmission development headquarters in Pontiac with hopes of getting new technology into cars and trucks much faster.
The Detroit automaker said it would spend $200 million to add 138,000 square feet of new labs in Pontiac, allowing it to consolidate work from four other facilities.
The move won't create any new jobs, but it will bring 400 more positions to the Pontiac headquarters, raising its total employment to 3,900 from 3,500. The positions will be moved from GM facilities in Indianapolis; Wixom, Mich.; Torrance, Calif.; and Warren, Mich. The 400 jobs also include the previously announced move of GM's fuel cell development center from Honeoye Falls, N.Y., to Pontiac.
GM said it will move heavy-duty transmission, power electronics, hybrid, and battery-electric drive-unit work from the Indianapolis facility, located in Castleton, by mid-2014.
Work on the new Pontiac wing is expected to start in the spring and be finished during the second half of 2014. It's part of GM's plan to invest $1.5 billion in its North American facilities this year.
The company said in a statement Wednesday that the new wing will help speed development of new engines and transmissions. CEO Dan Akerson has said the company is behind competitors on powertrain technology. The company has six-speed automatic transmissions while competitors have up to 10 speeds. More speeds generally make cars and trucks more efficient and perform better.
Sam Winegarden, GM's vice president of global engine engineering, said the move isn't about creating new jobs, it's about speeding new products to market. "This helps with the ability to do things both faster and more efficiently," he said.
For example, engineers working on a transmission or engine can simply walk down a hallway to get a question answered as opposed to calling someone in a different location and time zone, Winegarden said.
Speedier development is important because most of GM's engines and transmissions will have to be new within the next few years due to stricter government carbon dioxide pollution and fuel economy regulations, Winegarden said.