Archive for Thursday, September 29, 2011

GM offers rare look inside KCK auto plant

Estimated 9,000 visitors attend Fairfax open house

September 29, 2011

Being at the General Motors Fairfax Assembly Plant brought back fond memories for Joe Wells of Liberty, Mo.

“I used to take flying lessons here when this was Fairfax Airport,” Wells said, noting that, while he never did receive his pilot’s license, those days back in about 1969 or 1970 were “a lot of fun.”

“I love to fly,” he added.

Flying was the focus of Thursday’s GM Fairfax Open House, as well — or the focus, at least, was on seeing separate pieces of metal and machinery develop into one sleek unit ready to fly down the highway.

Area residents were given a rare glimpse of the massive production of Chevrolet Malibu and Buick LaCrosse vehicles that occurs every day at the Fairfax plant. The open house was part of the GM- and UAW Local 31-sponsored event that included tours of the plant and test drives of some of the latest GM cars being produced.

Bob Wheeler, the plant’s communications manager, said about 9,000 people showed up for the event.

The open house was one of 54 GM is playing host to — one at each of its 54 U.S. facilities — over the course of the year as part of its effort to thank the American public for its support and to showcase GM employees and new products, according to a press announcement released prior to the event.

Self-led tours went on throughout the day, beginning at the trim shop, where all the interior elements of a car (battery, wiring, engine, seats, etc.) are placed inside the car body, and ending at the area of the Fairfax plant known as the “marriage.” This is the final stage of the manufacturing process, where the assembled car is “married” to, or combined with, its underbody.

While the plant tour allowed participants to watch the automobile manufacturing process in action, signs relat-

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