Ford painting plantGeneral Motors announced plans to invest $1.2 billion in new equipment and expansions at five Midwest factories. GM’s investment, mostly in three Michigan plants, will retain or add about 1,000 jobs, many of which are in the company’s Flint hometown.

The expansion plans were announced Monday, the same day a new study was released, compiled by the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, that estimated the rescue of GM and Chrysler saved 2.6 million jobs in 2009 and 1.5 million in 2010.

The group also estimated that the government “saved or avoided the loss of $105 billion in taxes and social service expenses, such as unemployment insurance and food stamps.

GM’s expansion plans come days after the U.S. Treasury confirmed that it sold its final remaining shares in the car company.

“The U.S. Treasury’s ownership exit closes just one chapter in GM’s ongoing turnaround story,” GM CEO Dan Akerson said in a statement. “We will always be grateful for the second chance extended to us, and we are doing our best to make the most of it.”

(READ the investment story in the Detroit Free Press and the Center’s study, here)

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