General Motors has announced that it will invest one billion US dollars in the expansion of its plant in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico. Initially, battery packs and electric motors will be assembled there, followed by electric cars starting in 2023.
Currently, Ramos Arizpe in the state of Coahuila on the US border with Texas produces the Chevrolet Blazer and Equinox internal combustion models – as well as combustion engines and transmissions. The expansion will create capacity for the production of battery packs and electric motors, GM said. Their production is expected to start as early as the second half of this year.
From 2023 onwards, GM wants to produce complete electric cars in the Mexican plant – but the production of combustion engines in the old part of the plant will continue. It has not yet been officially confirmed which models will be produced. According to earlier rumours, an electric model for Honda will be produced there with GM technology from 2023. Reuters now reports, citing Sam Fiorani, who follows future vehicle production for AutoForecast Solutions, that GM wants to build two electric Chevrolet SUVs in Ramos Arizpe from 2023.
It remains to be seen to what extent the infrastructure around the plant will also need to be upgraded – the site has been in operation for around 40 years, and the addition of electric car and component production is likely to generate increased traffic. There are no details yet on the impact on employment at the site (currently around 5,600 employees).
Ramos Arizpe would be the fifth GM plant where the company builds or plans to build electric cars. Two of these plants are in Michigan (Orion for the Bolt and Bolt EUV and Factory Zero in Detroit-Hamtramck for the GMC Hummer EV), one in Tennessee (Spring Hill, among others for the Cadillac Lyriq) and one in Ontario, Canada for electric transporters.
It is unclear where the battery cells will come from that are to be assembled into battery packs in Ramos Arizpe. In Lordstown in the US state of Ohio, GM is currently building the first battery cell factory of the Ultium Cells joint venture together with LG Energy Solution. About a fortnight ago, the two partners also announced that they would build a second cell factory in Spring Hill for 2.3 billion dollars. Although this is closer to the Mexican plant, operations are not scheduled to start until 2023.