Orion Assembly

Orion Assembly is a 4,300,000 square foot (400,000 m2) General Motors vehicle assembly plant located in Lake Orion, Michigan. The plant currently assembles the Chevrolet Sonic and Chevrolet Bolt. As of September 2019, the plant has approximately 1,032 salaried and hourly employees.[1] It assumed operations of Buick City, and Pontiac Assembly.


Orion Assembly commenced production on December 1, 1983 with the 1985 model C-body cars.[2] Orion Assembly produced the Chevrolet Malibu and Pontiac G6 until 2009, when the plant was idled due to the General Motors Chapter 11 reorganization of 2009. The plant in suburban Detroit was saved from closure through a $1 billion grants and tax incentives from the state of Michigan, local municipalities and the federal government.[3] Under an agreement with the UAW, the plant began assembling the successor to the South Korean-built Chevrolet Aveo, the Chevrolet Sonic, in 2011 — making it the only subcompact car currently assembled in America.[4] Later in 2011, the plant began manufacturing the Buick Verano.[5][6]

In the past, GM assembled subcompact vehicles in Mexico or in South Korea due to lower cost labor rates in those countries. Under the new agreement with the UAW, GM will use domestic laborers earning less than under previous contracts and slimmed down labor rules to make assembling subcompact vehicles in the US economically competitive. For younger workers wages were cut in half from the standard $28/hour. For the first time, parts supplier employees worked alongside of GM workers on the assembly line. They made as little as $10/hour.[3] This arrangement replaced GM's previous plan to import a new subcompact vehicle from China. Orion's bid was selected over those from plants in Wisconsin (Janesville Assembly), and Tennessee (Spring Hill Assembly).

On March 22, 2019, GM announced an additional investment of $300 million and an addition of 400 workers to build a new electric vehicle at Orion.[7]

Dedication ceremonyEdit

On July 5, 1984, President Ronald Reagan gave a ceremonial dedication speech at the plant. Also in attendance were Michigan Governor Jim Blanchard, Michigan Senators Carl Levin and Don Riegle, Representative (from the local district) William Broomfield and notable General Motors executives, including chairman and CEO Roger Smith.

During his speech, Reagan commended both GM and the United Auto Workers for their progress in the automotive industry.[8]

Products madeEdit



See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Orion Assembly". media.gm.com. September 14, 2019.
  2. ^ Ward's Communications.
  3. ^ a b Goldstein, Amy (April 18, 2017). Janesville; An American Story (Kindle ed.). 1027: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc. ASIN B01MT2X3AD.CS1 maint: location (link)
  4. ^ "With Sonic, G.M. Stands Automaking on Its Head". The New York Times, Bill Vlasic, July 12, 2011.
  5. ^ General Motors Company 2010.
  6. ^ General Motors Company 2011a.
  7. ^ Ferris, Robbert; LeBeau, Phil (March 22, 2019). "GM invests $300 million in Orion Assembly Plant, adds 400 jobs". CNBC. Retrieved March 22, 2019.
  8. ^ Reagan 1984.


  • Ward's Automotive Yearbook 1984. Southfield, Michigan, United States: Ward's Communications. May 1984. ASIN B002LADYJG.
  • "Orion Assembly". media.gm.com. General Motors Company. 2011-05-10. Archived from the original on 2011-06-02. Retrieved 2011-06-02. Employee Information Hourly: 1300 Salaried: 159 Total: 1459
  • "Orion Assembly Site". media.gm.com. General Motors Company. 2011-04-07. Archived from the original on 2011-06-02. Retrieved 2011-06-02. Products: Retooling for launch of new products: Chevrolet Sonic and Buick Verano
  • "GM Invests $145 Million for Small Cars at Orion Assembly" (Press release). General Motors Company. 2010-10-07. Archived from the original on 2011-06-02. Retrieved 2011-06-02. General Motors will invest $145 million at the Orion Assembly Center, GM North American President Mark Reuss said today. Orion will be the home to Chevrolet’s new small car and Buick’s future compact sedan – the all-new Verano.
  • Reagan, Ronald (1984-07-05). "Remarks at the General Motors Assembly Plant in Orion Township, Michigan". Archives. Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Archived from the original on 2011-06-02. Retrieved 2011-06-02. This plant is a result of the bold leadership of your industry and an admirable commitment to the future of America. And I think your plant symbolizes a new spirit of cooperation between management and labor.

42°43′02″N 83°15′43″W / 42.71719°N 83.26196°W / 42.71719; -83.26196Coordinates: 42°43′02″N 83°15′43″W / 42.71719°N 83.26196°W / 42.71719; -83.26196