GM’s Volt electric vehicle plans a go regardless of bankruptcy

GM’s Volt electric vehicle plans a go regardless of bankruptcy
by Eric English | The Saginaw News

No matter what happens with General Motors Corp.’s bankruptcy filed in New York today, a company official says the Volt electric vehicle project is still moving in high gear.

And that could be good news for GM factories and suppliers operating in the Great Lakes Bay Region and Flint.

GM plans to build the 4-cylinder gas engine for the Volt at a GM factory in Flint. It also has hinted that it plans to use Bay City’s GM Powertrain factory to produce parts for the project.

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While bankruptcy could drastically change the auto giant, the Volt remains a top priority, said Dave Darovitz, a GM spokesman in Detroit for the project.

“Absolutely, the Volt is still on track to start production in late 2010,” Darovitz said. “There is no slippage in time as it relates to what’s going on with our company. It’s still the No. 1 product at GM.”

GM estimates that the Volt engine would preserve 300 jobs in Flint. The company won state tax credits valued at $132.5 million over 15 years for a plan to make Volts using five GM facilities in Michigan: Flint, Bay City, Pontiac, Detroit and Warren.

GM has not announced any anticipated Volt-related production work for its Saginaw Metal Casting Operations, which makes aluminum engine blocks and heads.

And to date, the corporation has only announced specific plans for using Flint as an engine source for the Volt.

GM also expects to manufacture the batteries that power the car in Michigan, Darovitz said. An announcement is pending, he said. Darovitz said he could not address when GM may announce work for other plants, referring questions to GM spokeswoman Sharon Basel at GM Powertrain in Warren.

“We have not made any announcements beyond Flint,” Basel said today. “The project is on time. There’s no change to that.”

Bay City Mayor Charles Brunner is one person waiting with high hopes for Volt work coming to the region.

“I’m still hopeful they are going to get that work,” he said.

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