KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- General Motors Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson made a rare visit to the Kansas City metro on Monday to announce the company is investing $600 million in the Fairfax Assembly Plant.
The announcement comes after years of uncertainty. General Motors filed for bankruptcy in 2009. Many Fairfax workers long feared they would be out of a job. But, Akerson says employees shouldn't be nervous any longer. He says the company now is not just surviving-- it's prospering.
"The last 4 years have been really tough, they've been lean," Akerson said. Kansas City, Kansas Mayor Joe Reardon said a couple of years ago folks in town were worried the Fairfax Plant would be forced to close.
On Monday Akerson told those same employees in person the tide has turned.
"The last couple of years by way of your commitment your tenacity your persistence, your support, we have done more than just survive, GM is back and we are thriving with the best in the industry," he said.
Akerson said GM is investing 600 million dollars in the Fairfax Plant for a new 450,000 square foot paint shop that he says will cut in half the cost to paint a car. There are also plans for a new stamping press, along with other upgrades.
Akerson told employees and those gathered for the announcement that the Fairfax plant is one of GM's crown jewels.
"It's one of our best plants in the U.S. It's one of the best plants we have in the world," he said.
New construction starts later this year and is expected to last two years. The Chevy Malibu and Buick Lacrosse are produced at the Fairfax Plant.
Akerson didn't rule out additional models could be made here in the future.
"I don't think we'd be investing this kind of money just to stand have the status quo."
Akerson did not mention that any new jobs would be created in the expansion, but Mayor Reardon hopes this will happen.
"There's plenty of room down here for the plant to expand even more we've heard rumors that general motors intends to expand their existing footprint of plants instead of building brand new ones- hopefully this is a sign of a continued wave of investment in the Fairfax Plant and more jobs coming here," Mayor Reardon told FOX 4.