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General Motors expanding production at Wentzville plant

General Motors broke ground on Monday for a new $380 million expansion to its Wentzville Assembly Plant.

When GM declared Chapter 11 in 2009 the Wentzville plant was subject to talks of being shut down. Few people envisioned a day like today when the company would be adding 500,000 square feet to Wentzville.

The company says the move will create some 1,000 new jobs, with priority given to workers from the soon-to-be closed plant in Shreveport, La.

But Mike Bullock of UAW local 2250 expects the vast majority of the new jobs to be local.

 “Everybody from Shreveport has been offered the opportunity to come to the Wentzville Assembly Center,” Bullock said, “but a lot of the people at Shreveport have the ability to retire also—don’t expect a lot of people to come from Shreveport.”

The new expansion will accommodate production for GM’s midsize Colorado pickup. The plant already produces the Chevy Express and GMC Savana full-size vans.

According to the company the expansion will cost $380 million.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon was on hand for the event and said the decision was a smart one for GM, given its long history in the St. Louis area.

“The fact that it’s in Wentzville is not accidental,” says Nixon.  “You have a strong workforce; you have a unified effort here. “This is an investment that will pay off, not only for GM, but equally important for the workers and the families all along the product line.”

The company also recently added 400 workers to a second shift on its full-size van production line.

The state of Missouri's incentive package to GM includes tax credits under Governor Nixon’s Missouri Manufacturing Jobs Act, which was also utilized by Ford in 2010 relocate production to its Claycomo Plant in Kansas City.