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Lansing GM plant celebrates quality award
MATTHEW SCHULERT/For the Lansing State Journal

By Stefanie Murray
Lansing State Journal

A parking lot outside General Motors Corp.'s Lansing Grand River plant on Friday became the scene of a celebratory cookout.

Under big white tents there, more than 800 workers gathered to accept the 2004 Gold Award for initial quality from marketing information firm J.D. Power and Associates.

The award recognizes Lansing Grand River as the best auto plant in North and South America and third best in the world.

"The recognition that this provides is such a great sign for the city of Lansing," said plant manager Ken Knight. "You can see the excitement here today."

The Grand River plant, which makes the Cadillac CTS and SRX, recorded 74 problems per 100 CTSs. The industry average was 119 problems per 100 vehicles.

At the cookout, workers and a handful of GM executives feasted on burgers, chips and pop.

"We work hard and we build a good car," said repair process team leader Bill Erwin, who's been with GM for 26 years. "Everybody feels a sense of relief now that we won the award."

As a reward, Vice President Joe Spielman said GM will contribute $100,000 to build an on-site, state-of-the-art fitness center for Grand River employees.

The company also will outfit all workers with new shirts that say "2004 Gold Plant Award."

"I think it's fitting that we brag a little around town," Knight said.

Last year, Lansing Grand River won the silver award, given to the second-best plant. United Auto Workers Local 652 President Art Baker said next year, he expects an even better honor.

"We'll be the best plant in the world next year," Baker said. "You watch."

For 2005, the Grand River plant is aiming to have no more than 78 problems per vehicle. It's also adding the Cadillac STS to its production lines.


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Next year, I hope that LGR can continue with its gold in North America after Lexus starts production in Canada.

And maybe LGR will pull off a platinum (and be the best in the world), though Toyota's Tahara [sic] plant is quite good.

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LGR & Pancho: you both seem to know something about this. What is the capacity of Lansing, and how many are they building now?

This is important information for anyone trying to look forward toward the future of Cadillac.
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