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Fort Wayne-built Silverado making mark in northeast Indiana

That demand is only expected to grow as Chevrolet celebrates 100 years of building trucks.

Posted: Feb 21, 2018 11:03 PM
Updated: Feb 22, 2018 9:11 PM

ALLEN COUNTY, Ind. (WFFT) - The General Motors Fort Wayne General Assembly plant is having a hard time keeping up with demand.

That demand is only expected to grow as Chevrolet celebrates 100 years of building trucks.

In January, we showed you how GM re-built the iconic truck from the ground up for the 2019 model year. The Silverado has been built in southwestern Allen County alongside the GMC Sierra since 1986, a truck that's making its mark in the auto industry and local economy. GM is making major upgrades to the Fort Wayne plant, investing $1.2 billion to expand it.

People are happy the plant continues to roll trucks off the assembly line and onto the highway.

"It's a phenomenal opportunity, a phenomenal asset for us to have GM assembly here in Fort Wayne, Indiana," Kelley Automotive Group president Tom Kelley said.

GM said about 3900 people work at the plant building the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra. More workers are being added on all three shifts as GM expands to try to keep up with demand.

"It's an incredible commitment on GM's part to keep that facility for Fort Wayne and Allen County and the entire region," said Scott Nalter, director of business development at Greater Fort Wayne, Ind.

That commitment doesn't include the suppliers.

In November, Avancez opened a plant across the street from the plant to help get parts to the assembly line faster.

Kelley said that's great for the community.

"It creates additional jobs. Those people live and work in the community. They buy homes, they buy cars, they shop at the grocery store. They support our communities."

Nalter said he's seen a lot of growth of manufactuing in the area since the Recession.

"It's not just the General Motors plant here, but it's the entire manufacturing vehicles that we target here at Greater Fort Wayne," said Nalter.

Nalter added suppliers for Honda, Nissan, Subaru and Jeep have also expanded in the Summit City.

General Motors Lead Development Engineer Scott Damman said that's because the workforce here is award-winning.

"Quality is there. They are producing trucks today, current generation Silverados that are the highest quality and meet all of our customers' needs," Damman said.

Fort Wayne General Assembly recently earned JD Power's "Best Quality for the Americas" award.

Damman said that's why Fort Wayne will be the first plant to roll off the redesigned Silverado in the coming months.

"We reward success at Chevrolet. Success in Fort Wayne has been a namesake," Damman said.

Kelley said the region needs to get behind and support that success to keep the economy moving.

"As a community, we need to get do whatever we can to embrace the plant. Embrace the workers, be thankful this investment by GM has been made recently in the plant, which ensures the long term success of the plant," Kelley said.

The new Silverados and Sierras will be in showrooms in October.

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