June 12, 2019 / 4:06 PM / 2 months ago

UPDATE 2-GM to invest $150 mln to boost heavy-duty pickup truck production

(Adds comment from GM executive on jobs)

By Joseph White

FLINT, Mich., June 12 (Reuters) - General Motors Co president Mark Reuss said on Wednesday that the automaker is investing about $150 million at its Flint Assembly plant, Michigan, to boost production of heavy duty trucks by another 40,000 vehicles a year.

Reuss announced the investment at the Flint truck assembly plant wearing a United Auto Workers pin.

The Detroit automaker announced in February it was adding 1,000 jobs in Flint to build a new generation of heavy-duty pickup trucks.

GM did not say that the latest investment would add more jobs at the plant, but Reuss said there could be opportunities to add workers as the launch of the automaker's new trucks progresses.

GM has been under pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump and lawmakers of both parties to add jobs in the United States after it said last November it would idle a small car assembly plant in Lordstown, Ohio, and had no new products for three other U.S. manufacturing plants.

The Flint investment will include upgrades to the plant's conveyors and other new tooling, and will be completed in the first half of 2020. GM has invested more than $1.6 billion in the plant since 2013.

Last month, GM said it would invest $24 million to increase truck production at its assembly plant in Fort Wayne, Indiana, which makes Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra models.

Sales of heavy-duty pickups in the United States have grown to more than 600,000 vehicles a year, up more than 20 percent since 2013, according to industry data. Prices for luxury models can easily top $70,000.

GM's Chevrolet and GMC brands have long trailed Ford Motor Co's F-series heavy duty trucks in the lucrative segment. The new Chevrolet and GMC heavy duty trucks have been re-engineered to tow heavier trailers, and keep pace in what has become an arms race among the Detroit Three automakers to claim superior torque and towing capability. (Reporting by Joe White in Detroit and Sanjana Shivdas in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Nick Zieminski)

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