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GM to invest $445m in diesel plant


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August 14, 2008

Thailand: GM to invest $445m in diesel plant

General Motors on Wednesday announced to invest $445 million in a new diesel engine plant in Thailand and an upgrade of its assembly operations, said Reuters.

The new engine plant is expected to start production in 2010, Richard Wagoner, chairman and CEO of the number one US car maker, said in a statement at the plant launch in the eastern Thai province of Rayong.

The plant will employ 440 workers and have the capacity to produce more than 100,000 units of 2.5 litre and 2.8 litre turbodiesel engines annually, the company said.

Thailand is GM’s biggest auto assembly base in Asia, with top selling models including the Chevrolet Captiva and Chevrolet Optra.

Earlier this month GM reported a $15.5 billion quarterly loss, the third-largest in its 100-year history, as an accelerating downturn in its home market and record crude prices hammered sales of its trucks and SUVs.

Chief Financial Officer Ray Young has said GM is on track to free up $15 billion in liquidity with cost-cutting, asset sales and new borrowing under a July plan intended to reassure investors that the automaker can ride out the downturn.

GM has said it needs a minimum of $11 billion to $14 billion to run its global operations. It said it has the cash needed through 2009, even assuming industry-wide U.S. auto sales drop by some 13 percent this year and hold flat next year, as many analysts now expect.

GM is realigning its North American production to reflect a U.S. auto market reeling from an oil shock being compared to those of the 1970s.

It plans to close four North American truck plants and add shifts at two U.S. plants that build more popular cars that get better mileage.

Growth in emerging markets such as India and China are crucial for the struggling automaker, which is battling softer sales in the U.S. market.

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