First 2011 Chevrolet Volt built on production tooling at Detroit Hamtramck plant, March 31, 2010
In the early 20th century, the old Dodge Main plant there built cars for the competition. In the 1980s, a new factory on the same land became the home of Cadillac production.
Today, General Motors (NYSE:GM) says its Hamtramck plant will be the home of the next-generation Chevrolet Impala full-size sedan.
The plant, surrounded by the city of Detroit but within the city of Hamtramck, had most recently been the production home of the Cadillac DTS and Buick Lucerne. Last year, GM began building the Chevy Volt at the facility, helped along with generous tax breaks designed to spur development and production of fuel-efficient vehicles.
Earlier this year, GM confirmed it would also build its new mid-size 2013 Malibu in Hamtramck.
With the switch from the Impala's current home in Oshawa, Ontario, the Hamtramck plant will be almost completely devoted to Chevrolet production. The Opel Ampera, Europe's version of the Volt, will account for the small percentage of non-Chevrolet cars assembled at the Poletown plant.
GM says the move will add two shifts of production and approximately 2500 jobs at the site. Between the retooling costs for the Impala and the Malibu, GM is spending nearly $200 million to refurbish the plant, once the Lucerne and DTS are done with their long production runs.
The announcement also sheds some light on the evolution of the Impala, once one of GM's hallmark rear-drive sedans. The Impala is expected to share some major underpinnings with the upcoming Cadillac XTS sedan. Sharing an assembly site with the front-drive Malibu could mean the Impala also has some commonality with that car and its "Epsilon II" architecture, as well as with the Buick LaCrosse--and even the Saab 9-5, a legacy of GM's ownership of that Swedish automaker.