GM Planning New Full-Size SUVs for 2014

May 26, 2011
2010 Cadillac Escalade

2010 Cadillac Escalade

GM is planning a major overhaul of its full-size SUV fleet for the 2014 model year.

The automaker said today that it will spend $331 million to renovate its assembly plant in Arlington, Texas, home to its current crop of GMT900-family SUVs, including the GMC Yukon, Yukon Hybrid and Yukon XL; the Chevrolet Suburban, Tahoe, and Tahoe Hybrid; and the Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV.

The expansion of the Arlington plant could add production of the flexible-bed Chevrolet Avalanche and Cadillac Escalade EXT, if those vehicles are brought back for a third generation of production.

GM had planned for replacements of the full-size SUVs for the 2013 model year, but it was forced to put off production as it maneuvered through its Chapter 11 proceedings. Ironically, in 2006 and 2007, GM had pulled ahead production of the GMT900 family of vehicles, just in time for gas prices to crush SUV sales as a prelude to the 2008 financial crisis.

The new investment will add 110 jobs to the site, though it's unclear if they're being added for construction or for vehicle production.

Arlington opened in 1954, and has built passenger cars and trucks. In 1997, the plant won a coveted slot in the GM empire to build its full-size trucks and SUVs, winning out over the now-shuttered Janesville, Wisconsin, plant. Truck production began as GM ended Texas production of the Chevy Caprice, Buick Roadmaster and Cadillac Fleetwood rear-drive sedans.

The plant now counts 2,400 employees and more than 3.75 million square feet under roof.

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