GM, Ford investing in expansion of U.S. manufacturing operations

With sales of cars and trucks rebounding in March after a disappointing start to the year, manufacturers are seeing an opportunity and taking action to capitalize on it by ramping up their investment in domestic manufacturing facilities.

General Motors recently announced that it will be investing $449 million in two Michigan factories to support production of the hybrid Chevy Volt. Most of the funds, $384 million, will be used to build out an assembly plant in Detroit. The remainder will be invested in a nearby battery plant in Brownstown Township.

Public officials in Michigan are taking steps to encourage this type of activity. Nigel Francis, a senior automotive adviser at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, recently outlined a 30-year strategic plan to deepen ties between the industry and the state government.

Automakers are also stepping up their investments in other states. Ford has announced that it will spend up to $500 million on upgrades to its engine plant in Lima, Ohio. According to a press release from the company, this investment is aimed at expanding production of a new engine model that "delivers power and performance in a stronger, smarter package."

"Lima Engine has kept Ford and Lincoln vehicles running for nearly 60 years," Ford's vice president of North American manufacturing said in the release. "Bringing production of the new 2.7-liter EcoBoost to Lima Engine Plant helps build a solid future both for Ford and the dedicated workers in Ohio."

Keeping these factories working as they grow will demand more than capital investments. These facilities will also need access to CNC machining services to ensure that replacement parts can be purchased for equipment that becomes damaged or worn out from heavy use.