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GM to Announce $450 Million Investment in Electric Car Research and Production

Auto Maker Sees 1,400 New Jobs as It Looks to Bolster Development of Chevy Volt, Cadillac ELR

General Motors Co. is expected to announce on Tuesday a $450 million investment in two Michigan plants to bolster the development and production of its Chevrolet Volt and Cadillac ELR hybrid-electric vehicles.

The funding will be split between the auto maker’s Detroit-Hamtramck car assembly plant and the Brownstown Township factory, which produces batteries for the Volt. The money is expected to retain or create a total of 1,400 jobs although a breakdown wasn’t immediately available, according to two people familiar with the matter. GM’s new vice president of North America manufacturing, Gerald Johnson, is expected to confirm the details during a speech in Detroit on Tuesday, the people said.

The additional money comes as GM continues searching for ways to add some spark to the Chevrolet Volt’s otherwise lackluster sales. The auto maker had sold 3,606 of the models through the end of March, a 15% drop compared with the same time period a year earlier despite trimming the price of the car by $5,000 to $35,000.

Many consumers remain on the sidelines since the Volt currently offers only about a 40-mile range on one battery charge before it shifts to gasoline. The next-generation Volt, due out next year, is expected to provide more mileage on a charge but likely won’t come close to doubling the current total.


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