General Motors to Upgrade 17 U.S. Plants

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General Motors has announced that it will spend $2 billion to upgrade 17 of its U.S. auto plants in eight states, creating or saving 4,000 jobs.

GM CEO Daniel Akerson made the announcement this week at a transmission plant in Toledo that will get a $204 million upgrade, retaining 250 jobs.

GM declined to specify the other locations for the investments, indicating that it prefers to unveil the retooling in series of announcements later this year to underscore its recovery from a 2009 bankruptcy filing.

About 1,350 of the jobs impacted by the upgrades will be filled by current GM employees who were laid off in the past two years. The remaining jobs will be filled by new hires at a lower wage rate recently negotiated with the United Auto Workers, who agreed to a new contract that sets the hourly rate for new workers at $14, half the rate for previously hired workers.

GM has roared back from the brink of collapse in 2009. The auto goliath reported earnings of $3.2 billion in the first quarter of this year and said its domestic market share rose to 19.6 percent in the first four months of this year from 18.7 percent for the same period last year.

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