GM to build Equinox in Spring Hill; create 700 jobs - WSMV Channel 4

GM to build Equinox in Spring Hill; create 700 jobs

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SPRING HILL, TN (WSMV) -

Hundreds of jobs will be coming back to the General Motors plant in Spring Hill. And for the first time, the company is getting specific about what it will build and how soon people will get back to work.

GM said Monday it will start building its Chevrolet Equinox at the plant next year and begin making a midsized vehicle there for the 2015 model year.

It is the news plant workers have been waiting for.

"I'm pleased to announce today that vehicle production is coming back to Spring Hill," said Cathy Clegg, GM vice president of labor relations.

And the plant will be a first of its kind for General Motors - a flexible plant.

"This won't be a typical plant with just a few dedicated products. The flex operation can change products frequently based on what we need to do in the market," Clegg said.

The Chevy Equinox will be the first car the flex plant will produce. In phase one, it's a $61 million investment that will require 685 employees.

There is a phase two expected for early 2014 that would be a $183 million investment requiring 1,200 new jobs.

Employees both current and former looked on Monday with enthusiasm and hope. Many have left their families to work at other GM plants around the country, and this is news right in time for the holiday season.

"At least we're bringing people back home, because we have people that have been scattered and forced to go to other plants and I'm so glad they are able to come back home," GM employee Diane Crossman said.

Auto workers cheered at Monday's event as union and company officials pressed a button to ceremonially relaunch the line at the Spring Hill plant. They also booed and heckled U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican who had opposed bailouts for the auto industry.

Corker made the following remarks at the news conference:

"I think everyone knows that we've had our differences. And I can tell today that that is fine with you, and that's fine with me. But today really isn't about that. It's about the future for Tennessee," said Corker. "Citizens across our country have invested in GM, and you and the company have been offered a new lease on life and an opportunity to rebuild a great American enterprise. It's my hope you will respond by waking up every day and working tirelessly to make this company great again. Tennessee has become known around the world as a leader in auto manufacturing. On behalf of the many people in Tennessee and across the country who depend on the automotive industry, I encourage you to work to enhance that reputation through your efforts here in Spring Hill, and I wish you Godspeed in doing so."

Copyright WSMV 2011. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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