GM, Isuzu to announce manufacturing plans at DMAX plant

City leaders expect more jobs will be added at Moraine factory

Three things to know:

• The DMAX plant at 3100 Dryden Road was built in the late 1990s, the plant has seen layoffs and temporary shut-downs, but it weathered the Great Recession while bigger plants — including the nearby Moraine SUV assembly complex — closed.

• The plant has close to 600 employees.

• Workers there make the Duramax diesel engine for light- and medium-duty trucks.

General Motors and Isuzu are expected to announce new manufacturing plans Thursday at the DMAX truck engine plant that will add to the more than $700 million in investments already made at the Moraine factory since 2000.

Company officials said they will “share some positive manufacturing news” for the Dryden Road DMAX plant in a press conference at the plant, but would not give details of their plan.

DMAX has been thriving. Last year, the company invested $60 million into retooling at the 584,000-square-foot plant, which is owned by GM and Isuzu. The facility employed more than 500 workers at the time.

Mike Davis, Moraine development director, said DMAX has closer to 600 workers today and is leasing space for distribution at the former Moraine Logistics Center, 2815 S. Gettysburg Ave., as it enjoys strong production.

The DMAX plant is the last facility with a GM ownership stake remaining in the Dayton area. GM ended auto assembly at its nearby Moraine plant — where auto glass manufacturer Fuyao now operates — seven years ago this month.

On Wednesday, city leaders said they couldn’t offer details on the announcement but they expect the news to mean additional jobs.

“That’s the direction they’ve been going,” said David Hicks, Moraine city manager. “They’ve been doing all the right things to position themselves.”

Hicks said he has traveled to Detroit to advocate for the plant, something he and other city leaders have long done in an effort to protect Moraine’s cohort of manufacturers.

“They’re doing better,” Davis said. “I don’t think it’s any secret that they recovered very well from the downturn in 2009. Our discussions with them are that they are doing very well.”

“It does have a future there,” Davis said. “I think they’ve rebounded well. They’ve been doing some gradual hiring there. I think this is a sign of good things to come.”

In September, Navistar announced an agreement with GM to assemble medium-duty trucks in Springfield. The agreement will mean at least 300 new jobs and a more than $12 million investment at Navistar’s local plant.

And GM and Isuzu have been planning to work more closely together.

In June, the two companies reached an agreement on a U.S. commercial vehicle collaboration, eyeing a plan to let Isuzu widen its product lineup and let GM expand its commercial vehicle portfolio.

Isuzu was expected to produce low cab forward models for GM, based off the Isuzu N-Series, the companies said last summer.

The vehicles were to be distributed by Chevrolet dealers in the United States starting in 2016.

DMAX has invested at least $760 million into its Dryden Road plant since 2000. The Duramax 6.6-liter V-8 manufactured at the plant goes into light- and medium-duty trucks.

Scheduled to be at the press conference are GM Manufacturing Manager Scott Whybrew; Isuzu Executive Vice President Maho Mitsuya; DMAX Chief Financial Officer Denny Dykstra and Moraine Mayor Elaine Allison.

Staff Writer Nick Blizzard contributed to this story.

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