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GM To Invest $48 Million & To Upgrade & Bedford Foundry

Plant will product six-speed automatic transmission cases and converter housings

(AP) – General Motors plans to spend $48 million to upgrade its Bedford Foundry to produce six-speed automatic transmission cases and converter housings.

Renovations to the 915,000-square-foot plant, which employs 770 people, are set to begin in July, GM said Monday in a news release. No new jobs were expected.

Production of rear-wheel drive, six-speed cases already has already increased, and front-wheel drives were expected to be produced later this year, GM said.

Production for both types is expected to reach full volume by late next year. GM plans to make new six-speed automatic transmission variants for nearly 40 models in 2006 and 2007, including for sport utility vehicles, sedans and trucks.

The six-speeds are gaining popularity, as they improve acceleration and fuel efficiency, said John Buttermore, GM Powertrain vice president of manufacturing.

Most of the investment, partly made possible with local incentives, will go toward more energy-efficient melting furnaces, machinery, equipment and tooling, GM said.

The Bedford Foundry produces transmission cases and converter housings for GM Powertrain six-speed transmission plants in Ypsilanti and Warren, Mich., and in Toledo, Ohio.