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GM to invest US$1 billion in tech centre

Published:Friday | May 15, 2015 | 12:00 AM

General Motors Company plans to spend US$1 billion on construction and renovations at its Detroit-area technical centre, a top-to-bottom overhaul aimed at boosting innovation and employee attraction across a 60-year-old campus.

Among the new construction at the automaker's sprawling Warren Technical Center, the birthplace of the Chevy Volt electric car, will be new design studios and an information technology building.

The Detroit-based automaker said on Thursday that the efforts during the next three years could create about 2,600 jobs in product engineering, IT and design.

The moves are part of a larger effort by GM to put major money into updating and upgrading its workforce and facilities as it moves past the financial troubles that led it into bankruptcy in 2009.

GM announced the plan at a morning news conference with Executive Vice-President Mark Reuss, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and others.

"We will transform this campus into a collaborative workplace of choice for our current team and future talent," Reuss said in a statement.

The 326-acre Warren Technical Center, which opened in 1956 and now has about 19,000 workers, was designed by modernist architect Eero Saarinen and built with low-rise buildings, concrete lakes and miles of roadways. The company has long sought to upgrade the facility designated a National Historic Landmark in 2014 to better compete for technical talent with Silicon Valley and other firms.

In addition to the new construction, the company said it will reconfigure work areas in most buildings, "improving the work environment for all campus functions." It also plans more testing areas in its Advanced Energy Center.

GM announced in 2012 it planned to hire up to 10,000 computer professionals - many at the tech centre - within five years in a bid to lead the auto industry with cutting-edge technology, such as internally developed software and advanced gizmos for its vehicles.

- AP