ARLINGTON General Motors on Monday unveiled a new $200 million stamping plant that brought 200 new jobs to the city and will save the company an estimated $40 million on shipping costs.

Heavy machinery inside the East Arlington plant presses raw steel into panels for vehicles. Starting Monday, the assembly line was producing large components for Chevrolet Tahoes and Suburbans, GMC Yukons and Cadillac Escalades.

'It's a positive piece for GM because we are able to reinvest back into the company which, in turn, saves us a lot of money from an operational standpoint,' said Tim McLean, operations manager for the Arlington facility.

While the stamping is new to Arlington, GM has run a facility there since the 1950s. Car manufacturing in the United States has seen major changes in the last decade, from plants closing to outsourcing. GM is selling the stamping facility as a reinvestment in the company.

As the economy crumbled at the end of the last decade, GM went through a consolidation that closed down many facilities similar to the stamping plant. Many hope the opening of the state of the art plant is a sign of new life.

'We can make quality products here in the United States, right here in Arlington Texas, that people want to buy and we can do it in a cost effective way,' said Rep. Chris Turner, D Texas. 'Employees are treated right and that business is able to be profitable.'

Turner was one of many who were invited to watch the assembly plant operate for the first time. The facility will be able to pump out 500 parts an hour.

'I think that the fact that General Motors wants to expand in Arlington and we have seen that with this new stamping facility, we have seen this with adding a number of new shifts here it is an indication of the quality of the workforce that we have here,' Turner said.

The plant is operating one of its three stamping machines. The hope is to have the other two operational in the next few months.

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