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GM Tonawanda Engine Plant celebrates 75 years of manufacturing

BY: Linda Painter-Hoffman | August 29, 2013

Unlike many other auto manufacturers, the GM Powertrain Tonawanda Engine Plant, located at 2995 River Road, has continued to adapt to the times and thrive.

This past weekend, the plant celebrated its 75th anniversary of being in business.

The celebration included plant tours, test drives of GM’s hottest new vehicles, NASCAR/remote control cars, new engine displays, the 2013-14 new car line-ups, various booths and food vendors.

The plant showed off to the public more than $825 million in investments made for its new Gen V and LGE lines. On Saturday the plant hosted a UAW/GM All-American Car Show and Expo.

Thousands attended the open house over two days, with more than 1,300 visitors in the first hour.

According to MaryAnn Brown, Chief of Public Affairs, the Tonawanda’s engine plant has experienced many highs and lows.

“From 2008 to 2009 was a very dark time,” said Brown. “The employee population dropped to below 800. We lost a lot of very good people.”

She said over the last 18 months they have hired more than 1,000 people.

“It’s been a resurrection for the plant,” said Brown.

Since GMs Tonawanda plant opened in 1938, it has produced a total of 70,967,249 engines.

In 2010, General Motors awarded the Tonawanda plant two new product lines and its employment has surpassed 1,700, the highest in many years.

As part of the anniversary celebration, a book was written by Annette Herrman which details the history of GMs Tonawanda Plant. She dedicated the book to members of the United Auto Workers Local 774.

A portion of the proceeds from book sales will go to the American Cancer Society.

Tonawanda Engine currently produces the Ecotec 2.0L/2.5L (4-cyl.) engine for the next generation Chevrolet Malibu and the Cadillac ATS. A $400 million investment was awarded to the plant in April 2010 to build an all-new V8 engine, to be used in the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette and the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra Pickup Trucks.

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