Tonawanda News — For decades, as manufacturing jobs have migrated overseas, and with the near collapse of some the nation’s top auto producers barely skirted by a bailout after the “Great Recession” of 2008, it looked as though things were going from bad to worse.
But 2012 showed an upswing for some plants in Western New York and across the United States, including General Motors, which announced the addition of several hundred jobs this year.
Earlier this month, GM said it would be the main producer of engines for a ling of pickups assembled in Detroit. The new EcoTec3 engines will be installed in the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500.
And to top off an announcement made in 2011, the company said the local plant will hire more than 700 employees to construct the engines, 500 of which will be added in 2013, while employees from other area plants such as Lockport will be hired first, as well as those laid off by cuts made earlier in past years.
Jordan Lee, a chief engineer for the engines, called the engines the “most technologically advanced engines ever offered in light-duty pickups. “
“Owning a truck doesn’t mean settling for second-best for technology,” Lee pronounced.
The Dec. 13 announcement dates back to 2010, when a $400 million investment in local plants included the renovation of old equipment and the expansion of new technology. New concrete was poured as well in the mammoth Tonawanda facility.
And while GM has invested $890 million in plants across North America and created or retained 1,600 positions in the last few year alone, plans were also made to increase milage and decrease emissions, company officials said, in order to better compete with foreign auto producers.
The Town of Tonawanda plant will also produce 2014 Corvette engines starting in 2013, adding another hopeful sign that the trend of job loss in the region is beginning to slowly reverse, including 130 employees who were brought back from layoffs in 2012.THE YEAR IN NEWS The Tonawanda News is compiling its annual list of the top 10 stories of the year. Here's a look at the list so far: • 10: NHL lockout threatens season • 9: HSBC sells out to First Niagara • 8: Upscale eateries open in area • 7: Cuomo pledges "billion for Buffalo" • 6: Bills struggle despite landing Williams • 5: Canal Fest closing time controversy • 4: GM adds engine lines, 500 jobs