A day after President Joe Biden extolled the necessity for American workers to create a zero-emissions future, General Motors Mexico said the corporation is investing $1 billion to transition its Ramos Arizpe factory to create electric vehicles there by 2023.
“So folks, there’s no reason why Americans — American workers can’t lead the planet within the production of electrical vehicles and batteries,” Biden told Congress during a primetime address Wednesday. “We have the capacity. They’re the best-trained people within the world. and everyone, the investments within the American Jobs Plan are going to be guided by one principle: Buy American. Buy American.”
GM’s Spanish-language statement appeared only on GM Mexico’s media site. It didn’t detail which electric models would be built at the plant, but it did say the factory would continue producing the Chevrolet Equinox and Chevrolet Blazer, engines and transmissions. The vehicles currently built at Ramos are shipped globally, including to the US .
Ramos would be GM’s fifth EV plant in North America. GM has designated three U.S. plants to create EVs: Orion Assembly in Lake Orion, Factory Zero Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Center and therefore the Spring Hill factory in Tennessee. Outside of the U.S., GM said it’ll invest $800 million at its CAMI factory in Ontario for the assembly of a billboard electric van.
The automaker is investing billions to transition combustion engine-producing plants to form EVs because it aims to succeed in a self-imposed “aspiration” of selling only zero-emissions vehicles by 2035 — commitments that have drawn the eye of investors trying to find winners in an electrified auto industry.
In a statement responding to the Mexico investment, United Auto Workers vice chairman Terry Dittes, head of the union’s GM Department, said: “At a time when General Motors is posing for a big investment by the U.S. government in subsidizing electric vehicles, this is often a slap within the face for not only UAW members and their families but also for U.S. taxpayers and therefore the American workforce.
“General Motors automobiles made in Mexico are sold within the US and will be made right here, employing American workers,” he added. “That is why our nation is investing in these companies. Taxpayer money shouldn’t attend companies that utilize labor outside the U.S. while taking advantage of American government subsidies. this is often not the America any folks signed on for. Frankly, it’s unseemly.”
In response, GM spokesman Dan Flores said GM “recently announced nearly 9,000 jobs and quite $9 billion in new electric vehicle or battery cell manufacturing facilities in Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee. As a worldwide company that builds and sells products round the world, we’ll take the acceptable steps to transition our manufacturing footprint moving forward to support our all-EV vision.”
In a statement to The Detroit News, U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn, said: ““Electric vehicles must be built here in America by the best workforce within the world — the American workers. Not one American dollar should support our own jobs being shipped off to Mexico — especially once we have the workers and therefore the technology to manufacture electric vehicles ourselves.
“General Motors must reaffirm their commitment to working families now. i’m focused on ensuring auto innovation and manufacturing stays within the hands of hard-working American people.”
The news of the $1 billion investment in Ramos comes after UAW President Rory Gamble used an interview with Reuters in the week to mention the union is in discussions with the Detroit automaker about representing workers at venture battery plants. GM responded within the report by saying: “workforces at those locations will determine whether or not the power is represented by a union.”
Meanwhile, the Biden administration is making moves to assist the industry in its transition. Biden seeks a net-zero emissions economy by 2050, and has made clear that reducing emissions from the transportation sector may be a central part of reaching that promise.
His $2 trillion jobs and infrastructure package would come with $174 billion to “win” the electrical vehicle market globally, including $15 billion for electric vehicle charging stations and $100 billion in new consumer rebates for purchasing EVs.
Construction has already started at Ramos. Additionally to EVs, GM Mexico said batteries and electrical components are going to be built there starting within the last half of this year with production of drive units. GM Mexico didn’t indicate in its release if those parts are going to be shipped to the U.S. for other GM EVs.