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Why GM is spending $23M on robots and other tech at its Charlotte distribution center

General Motors is upgrading its Charlotte auto parts distribution center with an investment of $23 million to improve workplace safety and technology, the company announced.

The money will go towards maximizing storage space, reducing physical labor with help from robotics at the site and improving order times for customer care and vehicle pieces at the Charlotte Parts Distribution Center, the company said Monday.

GM is funding new warehouse operations to address the growing number of vehicles on the road and to support customers and dealers, said David Marsh, global vice president, in a news release. The goal for GM is to have a working environment that’s more comfortable for employees delivering parts to customers, Marsh said.

The $23 million being spent in Charlotte is on top of a $120.5 million investment made last year for GM customer care and after-sales centers in Ypsilanti, Michigan, Burton, Michigan, and Memphis, Tennessee. Employees at after-sale locations send parts to dealers and customers after a vehicle has been purchased but still needs repairs.

GM is not planning to add jobs with the improvements in Charlotte, the company said. Government assistance was not involved in its plans.

A General Motors employee drives a hi-lo to move and deliver parts throughout one of its parts distribution centers. GM is investing $23 Million in its Charlotte Parts Distribution Center to prepare for industry growth.
A General Motors employee drives a hi-lo to move and deliver parts throughout one of its parts distribution centers. GM is investing $23 Million in its Charlotte Parts Distribution Center to prepare for industry growth.

What’s changing in Charlotte?

The facility at 10815 Quality Drive in the Steele Creek area has a smaller physical footprint compared to other distribution centers, but it among the highest is volume, according to GM. More than 40,000 parts are stocked at the facility.

Three technology upgrades will be added to help customers:

Automated Storage and Retrieval System — machines will pull parts from shelves to increase storage capacity by 11%, while reducing the need for manual lifting by employees.

Robotics and Conveyance Systems — brings materials to employees, reducing the amount of walking and movements.

Autonomous Mobile Robots — orders are brought to employees for the final shipping processes for dealers.

Installation work will start in June and is expected to be ready by August 2025.

About the center

The Charlotte Parts Distribution Center opened in 1999 and ships 420,000 customer parts per month.

More than 130 people work there.

GM sells vehicles under the Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Baojun and Wuling brands. OnStar, a a vehicle safety and security system is another subsidiary of GM.