General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), which is closing plants as it suffers some of the largest quarterly losses in the history of the company, is going to pour nearly half a billion into a new diesel plant in Thailand.
The Detroit automaker said it will invest $445 million into the Thai plant to ensure it can meet growing demand in the Asian market at the same time the U.S. market is tanking. Putting your eggs in more than one basket is always a good thing -- although GM should have done this years ago to help soften the blow from the currently anemic U.S. economy.
The new Thai plant is scheduled to open in 2010, with an engine building capacity of 100,000 engines per year. The engine types will be 2.5L and 2.8L diesel engines to serve the Southeast Asia market, little of which has a need for larger V6 or V8 engines like you'll currently find sitting abandoned in larger trucks and SUVs all over used car lots in the U.S.
GM's move comes as it has made a decent profit in its European, Latin America, African and Middle East regions. Together, those sections of the world gave GM a combined $465 million gain in the most recent quarter, while the automaker lost $9.3 billion in North America. Its growth outside the U.S. can't come soon enough.