U.S. Rep Joe Barton at GM announcement of stamping plant coming to Arlington on Jan. 31, 2012. (Credit: Bud Gillett/KTVT)

ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – In the second expansion announcement at the General Motors plant in less than a year, officials announced plans to open a new stamping plant that’s expected to create 180 full-time jobs.

The production line was halted Tuesday while employees crowded in to hear news from GM Manufacturing Manager Larry Zahner.

“Today I’m pleased to announce that General Motors will invest $200 million here in Arlington to build a brand new, state-of-the-art stamping plant,” Zahner said to loud applause.

The new plant, which will produce parts for full-size SUVs, will create some 180 jobs and reportedly save GM money.

“Many of the parts that we use to assemble the products here come from up to 1,000 miles away, [the new plant is] gonna save the company about $40 million a year,” said Zahner.

This validates the Arlington plant’s reputation for creating quality products at an affoardable price, Zahner said.

GM wants to move stamping operations for doors, hoods, or other panels right next door to the existing location.

This would save GM $40 million a year on logistics alone. This would drop shipping costs, Zahner said, and will cut down on dents and dings in transit.

Zahner said the new positions would all pay nearly $50,000 a year.

“Some of those panels have to be reworked when you get to an assembly plant; the best thing we can do for the customer is to build the stamp metal part as close to the assembly point as possible,’ Zahner said.

The announcement was good news for local workers like Suzannah Duenas who said, “I think we all kind of jumped in the air, did that little happy dance.”

UAW Local 276 Shop Chairman Belinda Langley said the move will also pump millions of dollars into the community and help keep employee moral high.

“As long as we’re producing quality and working together as a team, we don’t think that there’s anything out there that we can’t do,” she said.

Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck was on hand for the announcement and said the city was able to lure the plant to North Texas by knocking 90 percent off their property tax bill for the next 10 years.

“Basically we gave them a 10 year abatement, 90 percent property tax; we didn’t charge them some of the normal permitting fees that we do,” Cluck said.

City officials say GM will save slightly more than $1 million year during that time, but new salaries alone will bring more than eight times that back into the city.

“They wouldn’t be here if we hadn’t been giving them abatements along the way, and we’ll keep doing that,” the mayor said.

The new plant should begin turning out parts in 2013, in support of the next generation of full sized SUV’s.

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