DETROIT — General Motors plans to invest more than $1 billion in Mexico to produce electric vehicles, the company announced Thursday.
The investment in its Ramos Arizpe production complex is the first major announcement by the automaker for EV production in Mexico following billions of dollars in confirmed investments in the U.S. and Canada.
The facility will begin producing at least one EV beginning in 2023, GM said. The company declined to discuss what vehicle or vehicles will be produced there. The plant as well as supporting facilities currently produce the Chevrolet Equinox and Chevrolet Blazer as well as engines and transmissions.
GM’s announcement comes amid a push from the Biden administration for automakers to increase American manufacturing, including EVs. GM did not announce whether the EVs would be imported to the U.S., however current products produced at the plant are sold in America.
United Auto Workers Vice President Terry Dittes called the investment a “slap in the face” to its union members and U.S. taxpayers as the company is one of many lobbying for government incentives to support EVs.
“At a time when General Motors is asking for a significant investment by the U.S. government in subsidizing electric vehicles, this is a slap in the face for not only UAW members and their families but also for U.S. taxpayers and the American workforce,” he said in a statement.
Dittes said taxpayer money “should not go to companies that utilize labor outside the U.S. while benefiting from American government subsidies.”
In the release, Francisco Garza, CEO of GM’s operations in Mexico, thanked the federal and local governments for “promoting” the investment. The company did not disclose specific details of the government support.
The investment includes new capacity for battery packs and other electronic components such as electric motors, which will begin during the second half of this year. It also includes a new paint shop, which is scheduled to begin operations in June, according to a translated press release from the company.
The Ramos Arizpe plant is expected to be GM’s fifth manufacturing site in North America to produce electric vehicles following announcements for two plants in Michigan and others in Tennessee and Ontario, Canada.
GM is expected to continue to build or convert plants to EV facilities globally as it moves to become an automaker that exclusively offers electric vehicles by 2035. That includes at least 30 new EVs by 2025 under a $27 billion investment plan in electric and autonomous vehicles during that time frame.