General Motors (NYSE: GM) announced Thursday it will invest $1 billion in a manufacturing complex in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico, that will build electric vehicles by 2023.
“This investment will serve to prepare the complex for an expansion in the assembly and global propulsion systems plants, in order to make the Ramos Arizpe facility the company’s fifth manufacturing site in North America,” GM said in a statement.
The announcement represents the first major investment for an electric vehicle factory in Mexico. The $1 billion investment will transform the Ramos Arizpe plant into the fifth GM North America manufacturing site to produce electric vehicles.
The complex in Mexico will join the EV plants in Spring Hill, Tennessee, Detroit-Hamtramck and Lake Orion, Michigan, and Ingersoll, Ontario.
GM said the first stage of the project will include building a new paint plant at the Ramos Arizpe site, which will begin operations in June.
The Ramos Arizpe factory currently assembles the Chevrolet Equinox and Blazer models, along with engines and transmissions.
“We are very proud to contribute to GM’s vision of zero collisions, zero emissions, zero congestion by contributing to the manufacture of electric vehicles,” said Francisco Garza, president and CEO of General Motors de Mexico, in a statement.
The Ramos Arizpe factory opened in 1981 and currently employs about 5,600 people. Ramos Arizpe is about 179 miles south of Laredo, Texas.
The United Auto Workers criticized GM’s decision to build EVs in Mexico.
“At a time when General Motors is asking for a significant investment by the U.S. government in subsidizing electric vehicles, this is a slap in the face for not only UAW members and their families but also for U.S. taxpayers and the American workforce,” Terry Dittes, UAW vice president, said in a statement.
GM responded to the UAW statement by noting its more than $9 billion investment in U.S. electric vehicle factories or battery plants in a joint venture with LG Energy Solution, The Associated Press reported. The plants would employ about 9,000 people.
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