FLINT, MI - At 10:45 a.m. Sept. 30, a 2011 GMC Sierra Denali 3500HD rolled off the line at Flint Assembly and took its place in General Motors' history. Dubbed "Lucky 13", the heavy-duty pickup became the 13 millionth vehicle produced at Flint Assembly since it opened in 1947 as a builder of cars.
"This is special day for the Flint Assembly and United Auto Workers Local 598 team," Plant Manager Amy Farmer told employees and special guests during a celebration at the Flint plant. "Not only are we celebrating the 13 millionth vehicle that has been produced here since 1947, we are celebrating the heritage of some great GM products made here during the last 63 years."
Flint Assembly opened in 1947, producing Chevrolet cars as part of GM's Fisher Body Division. The facility later produced such classics as the 1953 Corvette, of which only 300 were made in a building on the north side of the assembly center. In all, the plant produced 4 million cars, including Chevrolet Bel Airs, Impalas and Monte Carlos, and 9 million trucks, including Chevrolet Fleetside pickups, Chevrolet and GMC Suburbans and the current lineup of Chevrolet and GMC pickups.
"The men and women of UAW Local 598 have worked hard over the years to leave a lasting legacy for the auto industry and for the Flint area," said UAW Local 598 Chairman Dana Rouse. "Whether it was rebuilding the auto industry in post World War II America or helping GM emerge from bankruptcy a stronger company, the UAW and its members have a lot to be proud of today."
On hand to celebrate the 13 millionth vehicle was James Stubbings, a Michigan resident and president of Heartbeat City in Shelby Township, Mich. When "Lucky 13" was produced it became the 13th GMC truck Stubbings has purchased.
"I am happy to be a part of today's 13 millionth vehicle celebration," Stubbings said. "I have been a proud owner of many GM products over the years and am especially excited that my latest purchase was built right here in Michigan!"
For the first time, GMC is offering the exclusive Denali line with the Sierra Denali 2500 and 3500HDs. The Denali version is distinguished by its iconic four-bar, chrome grille with round air inlets, along with body-color bumpers, chrome door handles, chrome accents and 17- (Dually), 18- and 20-inch polished forged aluminum wheels.
The all-new Sierra HD is equipped with the Duramax 6.6L turbo diesel V-8 and Allison 1000 six-speed transmission, and is capable of towing up to 21,700 pounds, and hauling up to 6,635 pounds of payload. The 2011 Sierra HDs began arriving at GMC dealers in late May.
Other guests at the plant celebration included the owners of several Flint Assembly-built vehicles brought in for a one-day classic car show for plant employees.
Additionally, representatives from the Back to the Bricks, a Flint-based car show and cruise that is among the top 50 shows and cruises in the country, were on hand to talk about GM's involvement in the annual event. For 2011, GM will be a platinum sponsor of Back to the Bricks, which is held in August.
"Given GM's rich heritage in the Flint area, it only makes sense that GM team up with Back to the Bricks," said Larry Zahner, GM manufacturing manager, who oversees Flint Assembly and several other Flint-area manufacturing sites. "We are planning on some fun activities centered on our classic and new models. In fact, we're talking about staging a competition among our Flint operations to find the best classic GM cars to display at the show."
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