SPRING HILL, Tenn. (AP) — Carmaker General Motors has begun manufacturing its new Ecotek automobile engine in Tennessee.

Production began Wednesday at the former Saturn auto assembly plant, about 30 miles south of Nashville.

GM is adding about 500 jobs to make the engine, which will initially power the redesigned Chevrolet Malibu sedan. The same power plant will eventually be used in a variety of General Motors vehicles.

The Tennessean (http://bit.ly/O59ZxF ) reported the line was started at a ceremony Wednesday morning.

GM earlier announced it will also begin assembling the midsize crossover Chevrolet Equinox at the Spring Hill Plant. That production will entail an additional 700 jobs.

The company anticipates further ramping up production at the plant next year to make two midsize vehicles, not yet identified by GM. The company has said that project will call for about 1,200 more positions.

The work is welcome in the rural community where the large plant has been underutilized since GM moved production of the larger Chevrolet Traverse to Michigan in 2009.

The plant was constructed in the mid-1980s when GM launched the Saturn compact car — a nameplate it discontinued in 2010.


Information from: The Tennessean, http://www.tennessean.com