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SPRING HILL, TENN. — General Motors Corp. is considering an investment of more than $16 million to add injection molding equipment at its Saturn Corp. plant in Spring Hill to make plastic body panels for its new Innovate model.

Saturn President Donald Hudler told USA Today that the company will decide soon whether to make Innovate body panels at the plant, which now manufactures all Saturn models. The midsize Saturn is expected to go on sale in 1999. The car primarily will be manufactured at GM's Wilmington, Del., plant, although GM would like the Spring Hill plant to have some role in production to maintain continuity.

The Spring Hill plant molds thermoplastic, dent-resistant door panels, side panels and bumper fascias for Saturn cars, said spokeswoman Candy Best. The plant, which uses 24 presses with clamping capacities as large as 7,000 tons, is at full capacity, Best added. GM has not announced specific expansion plans at the Spring Hill plant or whether Innovate body panels are built there.

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