By on December 19, 2012

GM is set to announce that production of the Chevrolet Camaro will move from its current home in Oshawa, Ontario, to a plant in Lansing, Michigan.

According to The Globe and Mail, GM and the Canadian Auto Workers agreed to keep production of the Camaro in Oshawa until 2014, when the current generation ended its lifecycle. Beyond that, no promises were made.

Recent contract negotiations between GM and the CAW saw Oshawa recieve a third shift at its “flex line” to build the all-new Chevrolet Impala. The Camaro is currently built on the flex line, alongside the Buick Regal, and the move is sure to be a blow to workers at Oshawa, which recently had its consolidated assembly line closed after Impala production was partly moved to another plant in Michigan.

The best case scenario is that GM is betting big on the Impala, and looking to free up further capacity for the full-size sedan – or perhaps another car. At worst, it’s a way of sticking it to the CAW, or an attempt to divest from Canada and its high labor costs.

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42 Comments on “GM Moving Chevrolet Camaro Production From Oshawa To Lansing...”


  • avatar
    Easton

    As an Ontario resident, I was always proud that the Camaro was Canadian-born. But I think you nailed this one on the head–it’s all about the CAW. GM has been at war with the CAW for years and I think it is only a matter of time before Oshawa is completely closed for good.

    • 0 avatar
      oboylepr

      The issues that GM Canada have/had with the CAW are not really much different to the issues with UAW Stateside. In fact, it could be argued that the CAW has been less ‘problematic’ than it’s US counterpart. I think this decision is for more political reasons and has more to do with the emnity between the UAW and CAW. I also think that The White House is involved here. How else can you explain why GM would shut down it’s most productive and highest quality car assembly plant. The truck plant was also the best of the 4 plants making pickups for many years. That said, I agree with you about the pending death of Oshawa Assembly. My guess is it will all be gone by 2020.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Isn’t being the most productive and highest quality plant the usual GM selection criteria for closure?

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        @CJinSD, lol. True.

        Didn’t Chrysler also close the plant somewhere in New York state (or was it New Jersey?) that made old Dodge Intrepid? Yes the car had issues but they weren’t assembly issues, they were engineering issues (2.7V6, ultra-drive trans, front suspension woes) while the factory itself had Chrysler’s most experienced workforce calculated by # of years of experience.

      • 0 avatar
        snakebit

        Correct me if I’m off base, but the Intrepid, Chrysler New Yorker/fwd 300, Eagle Vision(?) were built at the Brampton, Ontario plant that now makes the rwd 300, Charger, and Challenger.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        snakebit is correct. All Intrepid/LH body cars were built in Brampton where the LX/LC/LD are now built.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        No CJinSD, that was Ford’s strategy: Atlanta, Wixom, Norfolk.

      • 0 avatar
        ranwhenparked

        @CJinSD

        You may be right about that. Ellesmere Port has been GM’s most productive European plant for ages, yet it always gets threatened with closure every time Opel/Vauxhall has a bad quarter, while less efficient plants on the continent are routinely regarded as sacrosanct.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        I’ll attest to the quality of the Camaro’s assembly. My friend’s car is beautifully assembled. The only real negative from a quality stand point is that the interior dash and controls are too damn cheap.

  • avatar
    xflowgolf

    I assume this will go in alongside the CTS/ATS at Grand River Assembly? I haven’t been inside so I don’t know if there’s enough real estate inside existing buildings. That said, there’s still a lot of vacant real estate around those buildings from the previously leveled compound, and it would be nice to see some of it built back up and utilized instead of the concrete wasteland there now.

    • 0 avatar
      sunridge place

      Yes, next generation CTS and Camaro are Alpha along with ATS. This is why they are making the move…not Canadian hate.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Wait next gen CTS is Alpha?

        …and Lincoln is criticized for using the Xerox machine…

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        I’m sure the next CTS-V will be alpha as fuck.

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        Using a single platform for the three cars makes sense.

        And unlike Ford/Lincoln, there is no Chevrolet version of the ATS or CTS.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        28 – if you think 3 cars on one platform is xeroxing then what do you call VW basing most of its future product on 2 (including all their brands).

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        @th009

        In my mind what GM is doing is worse than a copy between brands. Cruze and Verano seem to work as both were received well and have sold well. Automakers share platforms between brands, and some do a better job of hiding it than others. But building one (ATS) and then offering the next as an LWB model and a different engine for example (future CTS?) is much worse than Ford’s Fusion and MKZ copy. In theory Lincoln may appeal to a different demographic than your traditional Ford buyer, there’s no excuse for building one small model, and then duplicating a slightly bigger version so you can charge a 25%-50% premium. Would it make sense for Ford for sell a Fusion and then a Fusion LWB as different models in the same dealership? Would the automotive community call them on it?

        @mike978

        Ah for VW I would say the Chinese could learn something from their copy skills, but that doesn’t make it right. I suspect VW is trying to become the Apple Computer of the automotive world: insanely profitable, trendy, overpriced, unreliable, no DIY, and pretend to be environmentally conscious.

        • 0 avatar
          mkirk

          LOL…I look at my Mac as akin to the BMW tech that rolls in a Corolla. He spends all day working on complicated crap so when he gets in his own ride he wants it to just work. I don’t want to have to screw around for an hour on a Windows box to stream a Braves game after work.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        @28-cars-later

        So do you take the same condemning of BMW basing the F10/F11 US spec 5-series of of the F01 7-Series.

        Source is Wikipedia (admittedly)

        …the sixth generation of the 5-Series (BMW F10[28]) made its debut on 23 November 2009 as a 2010 model.[29] The platform is based on the F01 7 Series…

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        @28, If the CTS ends up being just a LWB ATS, I will agree with you. But there is a potential being for substantial product differentiation: look at what Audi has done with the A4, A5, A6, A7, A8 and Q5, all built on the MLB architecture.

        We’ll know more next year once we see the next-gen CTS.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        @APaGttH

        I’m not up on newer BMWs but I would say it depends on how they did it. If they took the Euro spec F01 model and Americanized it a bit, then yes I’d call them on it. If they took another model and turned it up quite a bit, as Toyota did with Highlander being based on Camry, I would be inclined to complement them.

        “the Camry wagon was replaced by the Highlander SUV”

        http://en.wikipedia dot org/wiki/Toyota_Camry

        @th009

        Agreed we’ll just have to see what they come up with.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        @28-Cars

        BMW used to use an elongated version of the 3 Series platform for the 5 Series, but now uses a shortened version of the platform underpinning the 7 Series for the 5er – which is why the current 5 Series has gotten criticism for losing much of its sportiness.

        Lexus uses a shortened version of the GS platform for the IS.

        Mercedes uses the C Class platform to underpin the E Class coupe.

        What Lincoln has done is much worse than what GM is doing (while improved w/ the new MKZ which no longer shares sheetmetal or interior bits with the Fusion, it’s still what the Acura lineup is to Honda vehicles or the Lexus ES and RX to Toyota models).

  • avatar
    holydonut

    God I’m so glad I got out of the auto industry.

    GM replaces assembly of the Camaro with another vehicle, and GM gets accused of “sticking” it to the Union.

    Then you have guys drunk/high while working their shift (JNAP) who get their jobs re-instated.

    I was part of a corporate-analysis of plant behavior where we caught people stealing and couldn’t fire them because of the Union.

    We caught people napping and smoking while working on the line and couldn’t reprimand them.

    At a certain point I think we just naturally assumed people were drunk/high while working and didn’t care.

    Who’s sticking what to whom? The unions obviously don’t police their own ranks to shed their bad apples.

  • avatar
    jkp

    “The best case scenario is that GM is betting big on the Impala, and looking to free up further capacity for the full-size sedan – or perhaps another car. At worst, it’s a way of sticking it to the CAW, or an attempt to divest from Canada and its high labor costs.”

    Both sound good to me!

  • avatar
    zbnutcase

    Get these F@@king ads out of the pictures!! NOT GONNA TELL YOU AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • avatar
    mikey

    We have yet to hear the whole story. The Camaro is built in the Flex line. Soon to be three shifs running a Buick,, an Impala, and a Cadilac. The Flex is one of the most modern,versitile, and state of the art assembly lines in the world. Its also got a contigous stamping plant next door,and a modern up to date paint shop. The flex can run anything, with minimal,down time for retooling. As long as GM as a foot print in Canada,the flex will be running. Take that to the bank.

    The Consolidated, however is a whole different story. As its name implies,its just that. Its the old W plants one, and two, with pieces,and equipment out of both.
    As of today, its running the old Impala. I “believe” the plan is to go to 100 percent fleet. {sorry Zackman} The Impala will go the same route as the Crown Vic did. Conolidated also runs overflow Equinox, with sub assembled bodys,being shunted up the 401 from Ingersoll. {Cami} With Springfield Tenn ramping up, this isn’t goint to last.

    GM and the CAW have agreed to keep the Consolidated open untill 2nd 1/4 2014. Maybe only one shift? IMHO I think thats a bit of a stretch. We will see.

  • avatar

    With all the Money that the current Liberal government in Ontario has splashed over GM in Oshawa, somehow I can’t see them ever moving all the Work to the new Right to work state of Michigan,granted it could happen!

  • avatar
    philadlj

    U S A !
    U S A !

  • avatar
    dusterdude

    I’m not a big union lover, but as a Canadian taxpayer, all I can say is “ouch”

    Between the Federal and Provincial levels of government we ponied up ~ $15 Billion in 2009.

    (I understand the Cdn goverment had agreements that Canada would keep 16% (min) of GM’s North American production, but not sure how long that agreement was for, and whether this move would still keep production at min of 16% ?)

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I honestly think a lot of this has to do with the exchange rate. If the Canadian central bank tomorrow they were going to devalue ten percent, some of those jobs would probably stay. Such an action may not be in the best interests of the Canadian economy or its citizens, but well Fed and White House actions aren’t in our best interests either and its those actions who are slowly help to kill Canadian industry at the expense of whats left of US industry.

      • 0 avatar
        sunridge place

        You would be wrong. Its been said before and I’ll say it again. This isn’t Canadian hate.

        ATS is on an all new platform by itself right now. The all-new 2014 CTS will be a version of this platform starting production next fall. The all-new 2015 Camaro will also be a version of this platform obviously starting production in 2014.

        It makes sense to align production of those vehicles together. Picture this as the ‘home’ for North American RWD car production (minus the Corvette)

        Whether it was currency that made GM choose Lansing for the ATS and its platform partners several years ago when they made this decision is a different argument.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        In the case of Camaro perhaps its a logistical reason, but what about Ford’s St Thomas plant closure, and earlier plant closures or sales? Does Detroit plan on bringing any new production to Canada? What about GM’s and Chrysler’s veiled threats about relocating production? many factors to be accounted for no doubt but I think the currency, and thus production costs, is a significant one

      • 0 avatar
        sunridge place

        St Thomas closure? Kind of related to stopping the Crown Vic/Towncar…not exchange rate.

        In case you haven’t or didn’t notice, the big 2.5 aren’t exactly needing factory capacity and have been shedding capacity in North America for years. GM used their bankruptcy to finish the job for the most part.

        GM finally closed their plant in Shreveport, La this year with the end of Colorado/Canyon production. Its not like Canada has been singled out by GM.

        I’m guessing GM will fulfill their 16% commitment…but they aren’t going to lay out their plans to the world right now.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    In the Great White North version of the bailout doesn’t GM have to keep a certain percentage of production in Canada? Has the Canadian Government sounded in on this?

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Bludgeoning the automakers into accepting unaffordable contracts, as the CAW did in the last negotiations, is hastening the end of U.S. auto manufacturing in Canada. The CAW disinformation machine touted the short term benefits and the unionistas ate it up. But the CEOs are not financial nincompoops. Long term they won’t pay the world’s highest auto assembly wages. Significantly Chrysler would not agree to a third shift at the Brampton plant. That’s a thousand long term jobs that will never happen thanks to union hubris and short-term thinking.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      Oh those poor babies, those dimwits in the executive suites with MBA’s being outwitted by CAW poltroons. Snark, heavy snark. The automakers accepted the contract and agreed to pay the CAW workers; the CAW doesn’t agree to let the automakers keep some profits. How about the automakers caved? Again. It takes TWO sides to negotiate a contract. That fact is either unknown or misunderstood by many on TTAC.

      • 0 avatar
        Power6

        Well he made a good point, the execs will accept the union contract the first time around even if they don’t like what short term choice do they have. They use the time before the next negotiation to plan their production moves…just one more signed contract is not everything in the long term.


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