General Motors plans to use former Saturn production plant to boost capacity U.S.-based automaker General Motors said this week that it would reopen a Tennessee manufacturing facility, a move that would enable the company to rapidly boost production if necessary.

Officials from GM, which has battled back from insolvency, affirmed Monday the company would reopen a production plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee. The automaker once used the manufacturing facility for its discontinued Saturn brand, but now the plant will help to augment production capacity when needed, according to The New York Times.

The announcement from GM surprised analysts, as carmakers rarely utilize manufacturing plants in such a manner. Nonetheless, GM asserted it would invest more than $61 million to upgrade the plant. In a statement, company officials said they hope to transform it into "one of the world's most flexible manufacturing facilities capable of building any GM car or crossover based on customer demand or manufacturing need."

Reopening the shuttered factory will also help inject life into the local economy, according to GM. The carmaker plans to hire 700 workers to staff the facility, and executives said they would use the plant to produce parts for the Chevrolet Equinox, which is one of the firm's best selling vehicles.

"Spring Hill has a history as one of GM's most innovative and flexible plants," GM labor relations vice president Cathy Clegg said in a statement. "We're pleased that, working together with the UAW, we were able to build on that history and develop a plan to resume production at Spring Hill."

Interest in the Chevy Equinox has soared over the past year. In October, Equinox sales surged 18 percent compared to the same period in 2010, prompting GM to increase output of the crossover three separate times since it went into production in 2009.

GM ultimately hopes to add about 1,200 additional jobs at the manufacturing plant, according to The Times. If the initiative is successful, the automaker said it would invest $183 million in the facility and use it to build a new midsize vehicle offering for the 2015 model year.

GM manufactured cars under its Saturn brand at the Tennessee production facility from 1990 to 2007.

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