General Motors

Lansing, Michigan, USA

HOERBIGER Liftgate Actuator for General Motors

[ Published in HOERBIGER@MOTION 02/2010 ]

In the General Motors Grand River Assembly Plant in Lansing, Michigan, USA, the CTS models from Cadillac are assembled. The CTS Sport Wagon is equipped with a hydraulic power liftgate actuator from HOERBIGER. The power liftgate actuator is also used in other General Motors models – the Cadillac SRX built in Mexico, for example. The customers value the remote-controlled system especially during loading and unloading.

It takes several hours for a CTS Sport Wagon to roll off the line. It takes the assembly operators 16 minutes to install the liftgate actuator supplied by HOERBIGER Automotive Comfort Systems Inc. in Auburn, Alabama, and associated hydraulic pump in a vehicle–not a lot of time as compared to many other installed systems. Every move requires great care and the quality of the components must be right in order to meet the strict time specifications. In the General Motors Grand River Assembly Plant in Lansing, Michigan, USA, every minute counts.

The Lansing factory opened in 2001 is one of the latest plants built by General Motors. The team is especially proud that the Grand River Assembly Plant has won multiple internationally renowned awards for the quality of cars produced in Lansing: for example, according to a study by the renowned research firm J.D. Power and Associates, cars produced in the Lansing plant in 2004 had the lowest defect rate compared to plants all over the globe.

A total of 34 cars emerge completely assembled every hour from the CTS assembly line. A car rolls off the line under its own power every two minutes. About 1,000 operators at several hundred assembly stations on the line assemble thousands of parts as the vehicles make their way perched on solid steel cradles along the 2.5-million square foot manufacturing building. The CTS Sport Wagon models equipped with the hydraulic power liftgate actuators roll off the line between four-door sedans and two-door coupes. Approximately every seventh car is a CTS Sport Wagon–five cars every hour. On an average day, the plant turns out about 60 CTS Sports Wagons in one shift.

Each of these compact luxury station wagons is equipped with a hydraulic power liftgate actuator from HOERBIGER. The quality of the parts installed on the assembly line has tremendous influence on the smoothness of the entire assembly operation. The quality, function, and design of the components are key for such a smooth process. GM and HOERBIGER work closely together in design or model changes to ensure that every change will transfer to the line without problems. Overall, the design, quality and ease of assembly of parts, such as the power liftgate system from HOERBIGER, are crucial for the smooth production of high-volume cars, such as the Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon. And, of course, the cars must also be ready to please the end customers when they are presented at the auto dealership.


For General Motors, HOERBIGER in Auburn produces complete systems for the hydraulic actuation of tailgates. They consist of the hydraulic pump, hydraulic cylinder, and associated tubing and are delivered ready-to-install in stacked plastic bins that are tailored to the manufacturing processes of General Motors. The closed-loop hydraulic system is controlled by the on-board electronic system. Smart actuators ensure that the liftgate automatically detects obstacles and, when necessary, stops the movement of the liftgate. The integrated sensor system allows the limit stop of the liftgate to be freely programmed.

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HOERBIGER Automotive Comfort Systems LLC supplies hydraulic liftgate actuators to four General Motors plants. The Grand River Assembly Plant in Lansing, Michigan, USA, has assembled the Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon since March 2009. The Cadillac SRX is a more compact crossover vehicle. It has been built by General Motors in Ramos Aripes, Mexico, since May 2009. In Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada, the Chevrolet Equinox and the GMC Terrain crossovers have rolled off the line since May and August 2009, respectively. They also form part of the SUV Crossover Segment of General Motors. The GM subsidiary Opel in Rüsselsheim, Germany, has produced the Opel Insignia since January 2009. The Opel Insignia Sports Tourer, the station wagon version, is also available with the HOERBIGER liftgate actuator from Auburn, Alabama, as a special feature.


HOERBIGER Automotive Comfort Systems LLC in Auburn, Alabama, USA was founded in July 2001 as HOERBIGER Hydraulics Inc. as a production and sales organization. Today, the company operates under the name of HOERBIGER Automotive Comfort Systems LLC as part of the Division Automotive Comfort Systems. The company's portfolio includes hydraulic actuator systems for convertible tops, trunk lids, and tailgates. The location has 110 employees. One of its largest and most important customers is the automaker General Motors.