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General Motors expected to announce new SUVs, jobs for factory in Spring Hill, Tennessee

DETROIT - General Motors and government officials are expected to announce new vehicles and jobs Wednesday at a sprawling factory complex in Spring Hill, Tennessee.

An announcement is scheduled for Wednesday morning at the plant, which is likely to get new Cadillac and GMC crossover SUVs in addition to its current product, the Chevrolet Equinox.

Neither GM nor Gov. Bill Haslam's office would comment ahead of the announcement, but the state said in a July 11 news release that a nearby company was expanding to make parts for new GMC and Cadillac vehicles at Spring Hill.

ABC Group plans to invest $25.5 million in its Gallatin, Tennessee, plant, adding 180,000 square feet and creating 230 jobs. The expansion will increase capacity to build consoles, interior trim and floors for new GMC and Cadillac vehicles to be made at Spring Hill, said the news release from the state Department of Economic and Community Development.

GM is reworking the Equinox and its sister vehicle, the GMC Terrain. The Equinox went on sale in 2009 as a 2010 model and has done well, but it's competing against newly redesigned crossover SUVs such as the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. It's also possible that GM is reworking the Cadillac SRX crossover.

Crossover SUVs are in one of the fastest-growing segments of the U.S. auto market, appealing to young people and downsizing baby boomers. Sales of the midsize crossovers are up 14 per cent so far this year, according to Autodata Corp. Crossovers are built on car underpinnings so they manoeuvr like a car and get comparable gas mileage. Yet drivers like the visibility of the high seating position and versatile cargo space.

In 2011, GM said it would invest millions in the Spring Hill plant and create 1,200 more jobs. The 6.9 million-square-foot former Saturn complex now employs 1,615 hourly and 338 salaried workers, plus another 391 who work for parts suppliers.

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