30 years and counting

The General Motors Fort Wayne Assembly Plant built its first pickup at the plant on Dec. 8, 1986.


FORT WAYNE — When General Motors Co. opened its Fort Wayne Assembly Plant, the benefits for northeast Indiana’s economy were enormous and immediate. The impact continued to grow in the years that followed.

GM built its first pickup at the plant on Dec. 8, 1986, employing nearly 3,000 with an annual payroll exceeding $100 million.

According to the most recent data available, the plant’s employment has grown to about 4,100, with a 2014 annual payroll of $314.9 million.

The plant near the intersection of U.S. 24 and Interstate 69 runs three shifts making full-size and heavy-duty regular and double cab Chevrolet Silverados and GMC Sierras. About 3,800 of its workers are hourly employees represented by United Auto Workers Local 2209.

When well-paying jobs of this type are created, employee spending on living expenses – including housing, transportation, furniture and food – creates at least an equal number of jobs in the region through the “multiplier effect” of this spending, according to conservative estimates.

In addition, the plant’s 2014 contribution to payroll taxes were $62.6 million, and the annual contribution of the plant, its employees, Local 2209 and the GM Foundation to community organizations was estimated at nearly $500,000.

The plant’s size has grown from 2.5 million square feet when it opened to 3.3 million square feet.

From the day it opened through July 21, the plant had built more than 7 million pickups on four platforms – the GMT 400, GMT 800, GMT 900 and, now, the K2XX.

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