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FLINT, MI-Gov. Jennifer Granholm will join General Motors chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner at 10:30 a.m. Thursday announce the construction of a new $326 million engine plant at 10 a.m. at the company’s Flint Engine South and Flint Truck Assembly plant. The new facility will go up on a site on Van Slyke Road, next to this location.

The new plant is part of an $838-million retooling and expansion plan in Michigan by the automaker to create the Chevrolet Volt, a car that will run for 40 miles after being charged for just a few hours from a common household electric socket.

Workers at the new 500,000-sf plant will build engines for the Volt and the Chevrolet Cruze, a new compact car. The rest of the expansion plan includes upgrades to the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant (where the car will be constructed), the Pontiac Metal Center in Pontiac (to stamp the Volt’s metal), the Bay City Components Plant (more engine work) and the GM Technical Center in Warren (for battery research).

The company, which has been based in Michigan since its inception in 1908, alleges that it has looked at other states to house some or all of these tasks. In response, the state, through the Michigan Economic Growth Authority Board, approved on Tuesday a tax credit worth $122.5 million for 15 years, and a brownfield tax credit valued at $10 million, to keep the firm employing Michigan workers. The city also approved incentives, including about $6 million of real property taxes, and much more with a 100% abatement of personal property taxes through 2033. “The automotive industry is a fiercely competitive business,” said company officials in a statement. “As investment dollars become scarcer, GM facilities in communities that create positive environments for business are more likely to receive future investment dollars from GM. Economic incentives from the state of Michigan will assist in the long-term viability and competitiveness of the proposed projects.”

After the board voted for the incentives, Granholm said that though the state is most famous, and infamous during this economic downturn, for automotive manufacturing, this money will help diversify business. The GM Volt production “put us in a strong position to win this project, and be the state that produces the cars and trucks that help end our nation’s dependence on foreign oil.”

The state is committed to attracting and keeping companies that focus on new energy ideas, a spokeswoman for the Michigan Economic Development Corp. tells GlobeSt.com. Wednesday, the state announced Michigan Strategic Fund approval of alternative energy partnerships in Ann Arbor, Flint and Kinross. For example, Sakti3 of Ann Arbor will receive $3 million from the program to establish a center focused on next-generation lithium battery technologies and processes, in an attempt to keep this type of manufacturing in Michigan. “Right now, a lot of the research, development and assembly of products such as advanced batteries takes place in other countries,” the MEDC spokeswoman says. “If we’re able to grow and develop that product here, we’ll all be much better off.”

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