By on August 1, 2014

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A report in Automotive News outlines how General Motors has committed to building a new Buick model at their plant in Russelsheim, Germany. According to AN, the logical choice is the next-generation Buick Regal, also known as the Opel Insignia, since this is a good fit for Buick, and it allows GM to use up some of the excess capacity that is currently plaguing their European operations. But for GM’s venerable Oshawa plant, this is not good news.

As TTAC and AN have both pointed out, product is leaving Oshawa much faster than it’s coming in. The Camaro will move to Lansing, Michigan by 2016, while the next-generation Chevrolet Impala and the Cadillac XTS has its production split between Michigan and Oshawa. The old-generation Impala, currently built on the old “Consolidated” line, is due to end production soon. The GM Theta crossovers, which are built partially in Oshawa due to a lack of capacity at GM’s Ingersoll, Ontario plant, will move there exclusively for their next generation. That leaves the Regal as GM’s lone Oshawa product, and even that appears to be going away too.

All signs appear to point to the closure of the Oshawa plant high. Between high labor costs, unfavorable exchange rates and a lack of new products, it would take a miracle to save Oshawa. As of now, the main thing tying GM to the plant is the “vitality commitment” that they signed as part of their bailout agreement with the Canadian government, obligating them to keep a certain amount of vehicle production in Canada. And when that ends in 2016, it’s hard to imagine that GM will keep producing cars in one of the world’s most costly jurisdictions.

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70 Comments on “The Future Of GM’s Oshawa Plant Looks Increasingly Bleak...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Such a shame. I’d also like to see the logic in building an already redundant sedan model in a more expensive locale and paying to ship it overseas from Europe. “Excess capacity” is worth it?

  • avatar
    RogerB34

    Capital moves rapidly in a global economy and those countries that do not recognize a Century 21 fact will be left behind.

  • avatar
    50merc

    How can it be cheaper to build cars in Germany? Or is it that Germany’s draconian penalties for layoffs and closing plants mean GM figured it might as well do something–anything–with German resources it can’t shed?

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    The CAW/Unifor refuses to be competitive. No rational automaker will pay more when it can pay less. I doubt Canadian taxpayers will continue to subsidize the cost gap.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Unifor is fairly competitive now that the dollar has sunk, and labour isn’t really the issue; it’s that GM is highly unlikely to get tax concessions out of the Ontario (after souring that relationship a few years back) or the Federal (who seems to spite anyone not in the oil industry) governments

      After refusing job guarantees in the bailout, the writing really was on the wall for Oshawa.

      There’s simply no product that Oshawa can make: they lost truck assembly, the the W-Bodies and the Camaro and Regal are far too small-volume. GM has too much factory capacity in North America.

      On a personal note, I’m sad to even contemplate this because a) this is local, and b) Oshawa is an excellent plant by any standard.

      • 0 avatar
        86er

        “…or the Federal (who seems to spite anyone not in the oil industry) governments”

        Politely disagree – while I’m not one to forget the federal and provincial government investments in the oil sands in the 1960s and 70s, much more recently the Canadian and Ontario governments were a major contributor to the bailout, to the tune of $13.7 billion.

        Also on a personal note, the possible closure of Oshawa is unfortunate because their reputation for the gold standard is truly deserved.

        • 0 avatar
          psarhjinian

          My comment is actually the result of my spouse, who grouses mightily about the (lack of) support at the Federal level for the Ring of Fire developments in her native Thunder Bay.

          That said, I’m also not sure what the Federal/Provincial split was; I’ve not found that. I do know it didn’t come with the kind of job guarantees that Ford was able to bring to the table in Oakville.

          • 0 avatar
            86er

            Yeah, the Ring of Fire is one of those “better late than never” sort of things.

            Ontario’s Far North Act is either a help or a hindrance, depending on who one talks to.

            Working with the feds on anything is like pulling teeth… maybe if there’s political reasons for the intransigence (on either side) that has been settled in the wake of Wynne’s win.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Ya, because building cars in Germany is soooooooooo much cheaper because they don’t have unions and works councils there.

      Glad we cleared that up.

    • 0 avatar
      scwmcan

      Wages aren’t the real issue here( and UNIFOR is nowhere near the same Union as CAW was, according to the long term workers at the plant I work at), the Korean workers are getting paid as much if not more and I am sure after benefits so are the American workers, the problem in Ontario ( not just automakers but all manufacturing) is now mainly the price of electricity, the cost to run the plant are becoming a larger factor than the cost of labour. The GM plants in Ontario ( Powertrain and finished cars) are all among the best quality and most efficient of the GM plants ( even if labour is slightly more we produce more per employee at higher quality). There is a reason that the St. Catherine’s V6 line is the only plant out of the 5 or 6 that make the V6 is the only one running three shifts ( for now at least) and why the V8 line is going to three shifts and making extra product that the Towadanga ( sp) NY plant isn’t able to. With the new hires getting significant less than the long term hires the wage issue will pretty much be gone in the St. Catharines plant at least by the time the next contract comes along in 2016 ( though who knows what will happen with that). at that point about 80-90% of the employees will be at the new hire rate, if the plant was able to be competitive with the old wage structure it sould be more than competitive with the new one! all else being equal. The problem will be the Government has committed to high cost green energy, causing the price of electricity to increase drastically, putting industry jobs ( and consumer’s budgets) at risk.

      • 0 avatar
        bufguy

        I think you are referring to the Tonawanda engine plant in Buffalo…It just celebrated its 75th anniversary and is frequently selected for GM’s “flagship” engines because of the high quality and great labor force. Currently it produces the Corvette LT 1 engine, various V-8’s for trucks and the ecotec 2.0 turbo and 2.5.

  • avatar
    juicy sushi

    Sad, but inevitable. I’m more concerned for how Ontario manages the transition and actually creates new opportunities going forward. There’s very little leadership on the horizon at the moment regarding that…

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Too bad there isn’t a real commitment to keeping the Zeta platform around. Given the long history of B-body production there I would think they could do a good job building the Chevrolet SS. Unfortunately that model only exists to take up the slack in Commodore production.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    Just want to understand this. A plant that consistently produced the highest quality among GM’s North American assembly operations is going to be closed. A plant that the Canadian govt. poured money into is going to be closed.

    • 0 avatar
      Truckducken

      Re quality: It didn’t save Oklahoma City either. This is GM being GM.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Please refer to Ford’s “The Way Forward”.

      Wixom, among other plants, closed even though quality was excellent.

      • 0 avatar
        SC5door

        As it should have been:

        The last car off the line was a Town Car, line speed couldn’t have been more than 30 cars an hour (if that even). Production processes by the plant and suppliers should have been worked out years earlier.

        There simply was no product for Wixom when the LS left.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          And it seems that will be the fate of Oshawa as well. I may wax nostalgic for Wixom Assembly because I grew up nearby, but it needed to close at the end. There was no product.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Although I am not a Ford guy I’m going to go ahead and blame Nasser and his Dr. Evil-esque PAG scheme for the lack of product to give Wixom. Oshawa is a much more complicated matter as other posters have shown.

    • 0 avatar
      Joe McKinney

      I was thinking of Wixom as well. I own a 1967 Thunderbird which was made at this plant.

      Wixom was Ford’s dedicated luxury car plant. In its heyday Wixom ran at capacity building Lincolns and Thunderbirds. Over the years the personal luxury market dried up and disappeared. During the same period Lincoln experienced significant decline. In the end there was nothing left to justify keeping the plant open. Wixom closed in 2007 and the Town Car moved to Canada to finish out its days along side the Crown Vic and Grand Marquis at the St. Thomas plant.

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    Re: “GM being GM”

    If it was me, I would try to find a way to keep Oshawa open. Maybe GM has. Who knows?

    While the CAW hasn’t really helped, even if they agreed to a 2-tier wage system, Oshawa’s future would still be up in the air.

    The strong Canadian dollar makes Canadian car exports to the US more expensive. That’s why Canada is not getting it’s proportionate share of auto investment (from ALL automakers) compared to the US and Mexico.

    There may be other factors. Maybe the facilites and tooling are old and need to be replaced–we’re talking millions, or hundreds of millions, that may not need to be spent some where else.

    Sadly, maybe it’s ‘less bad’ to keep workers in Germany and placate the Germans vs Canada.

    Still, when you close a plant known for good quality, as the word gets out, it’s harder to motivate that American worker in Flint to do well by saying “quality is job security”. For that reason alone, GM should try to find a way to make Oshawa work.

    Maybe they could offer a stripped version of the Opel Regal–a Chevy Chevelle with a 1.8 liter four and MANUAL trans.

    I’d buy that.

    Or better yet, an inexpensive front engine rear drive product–a modern Opel Ascona badged as a Chevelle. It could be the BMW 2002 of my generation!

    Or even a retro Body on Frame Monte Carlo/Cutlass Supreme, with GM’s current 3.6 V6 or 5.3 V8 and 6-spd auto.

    I’m not sure there’s a market for my retro ideas though.

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      ” it’s harder to motivate that American worker in Flint to do well by saying “quality is job security”.”

      Flint has already been decimated by auto plant (and supplier) closures due to quality, productivity, and cost issues; this has been going on since the late 1970’s. If the remaining Flint workers have not figured out that all three issues are important they are doomed to unemployment as well.

      GM just went through bankruptcy and was lucky that it was propped up by the US and Canadian governments instead of being restructured in court like EVERY OTHER company that goes through bankruptcy. GM employees (unlike vendors, stockholders, and bondholders) dodged that bullet but the days of keeping uncompetitive factories open for political reasons are probably over.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I like your retro ideas and I have had similar ideas myself, say every year a limited edtion 5,000 units of a Cutlass, Bonneville, Chevelle etc built on a truck chassis. I have no doubt the scheme would work just as the Chevy SS is selling so well despite its complete lack of marketing support. The trouble is building new platforms had become exorbitantly expensive. I’ve read it cost at minimum a billion USD to develop one. This is incredibly expensive and seems very inefficient. I’m not sure what makes this process so costly (cough cough gov’t) but if all parties could come together and improve it, limited edition high profit low volume cars could become a reality.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Oshawa flex is one of the most modern , and up to date auto manufacturing facilities in the world. Unfortunately it just bolted together. And it can be unbolted!

    Right now the future is as grim as it’s ever been.

    I’m on my I phone right now , and and away from home. Derek if I get any info I will contact you when I get home

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    I chose Flint as a metaphor–could be Ohio, Lansing, or any other plant for any company.

    Quality, productivity and cost issues did help decimate Flint. The labor force influenced all three.

    But they didn’t design or style or engineer the cars. Boring cars, or cars that are hard to build properly and have inherent quality issues can be a problem.

    Agreed, the GM employees who survived are lucky to have been bailed out. However, many of the root causes of GM, indeed of the “Detroit Threes’ ” demise (and had the US not saved GM, the failure of GM’s suppliers would’ve torpedoed Ford), are due to greed and ineptitude of senior management and the UAW, which were largely the result of Federal Govt laws and rules, which put the US car industry at a big disadvantage vis-a-vis the Japanese.

    For example, Japan could freely export cars to the US. But the Japanese kept US cars out–why didn’t the Feds level the playing field?

    US firms had to meet OSHA and EPA requirements starting in the 1970s. They are good for society, but cost billions. Those great looking paint jobs on Toyotas were done in shops where workers had no protection, and Toyota didn’t have to worry about pollution.

    US laws made it hard for management to deal with unions; US tax laws encouraged management to make as much as it could; for the latter to happen, the former had to be placated. Up until 1973, there was enough demand for US products to buy off everyone with nice, fat profit margines–sr. mgt, the UAW, the workers (salaried and hourly), the stockholders–while the US consumer paid. At least those living employed by US auto companies bought US products that kept other Americans employed (like Zenith TVs, Boeing and McD airliners, Schwinn bicycles, Polaroid cameras, and so forth), and helped the overall US economy raise most people’s standard of living and keep people gainfully employed in real jobs (vs fast food).

    Finally, the Federal Govt’s CAFE and emissions laws disproportionately hammered the US automakers. Since most 70s cars had issues, most 70s consumers were disatisfied. 85% of them had US cars that upset them, making them easy converts to foreign cars–the reverse ‘flow’ was much smaller. As ALL automakers got better in the 1980s, this hugely benefitted the foreign companies.

    So, given that the Federal Govt basically smothered and strangled the US automakers to death, and give that the Federal Govt found hundreds of billions to bail out Wall Street (enriching the few at the top by immunizing them from their bad gambles), and given that today the Federal Govt hands out money to every other American, I don’t mind that they bailed out GM–in fact, I’m glad they did. Had GM folded, one of the last sectors of productive US activity and jobs would have evaporated. And I don’t beleive “Mr. Free Market” would have saved the day.

    Free markets need fair rules. When some people (ie big banks), or some countries (ie Japan and Germany and now Korea and China) have better rules to play with (their govts HELP their companies), it doesn’t work so well for US manufacturers or their employees.

    • 0 avatar
      petezeiss

      “But the Japanese kept US cars out”

      Yes, in spite of their oppressed populace clamoring for gas-swilling, door flopping, erector-set quality barges that could get stuck between roadside buildings in any district that had survived the war. Evil Japs.

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      Everybody at GM, from the top down, is to blame for what happened to the company. For a lot of reasons by 1970 GM was building sh1tty cars and banks, foreigners, or the Trilateral Commission were not to blame. GM from the CEO’s to the janitors thought that they could design, build and sell crap to the American public and we should be grateful to have it.

      That plan worked until foreign manufacturers offered cars that were designed better, built better, lasted longer, and got better fuel economy.

      GM’s greed was universal from the top down, and the public has paid a steep price for it in both decades of lousy cars and the subsequent cost of the GM bailout. I feel as bad for GM as I do for plantation owners that lost their slaves after the Civil War.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Could the problem actually be the product? The Regal is a heavy, space-inefficient car with zero badge credibility that nobody wants. It’s too cramped to make a good mid-sized rental and buying one would only appeal to time travelers from 1993. Even the German police tried to return theirs. The German built ones exported to the US really hurt Buick’s JD Powers ranking, something that was rectified by moving production to Canada. Now they’re going back to German reliability levels? GM.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Consumer Reports doesn’t agree with your assessment sweetie. They did not find it heavy or space-inefficient. Consumer Reports gives the car a “recommend.”

      From that schill of a publication USA Today on what Consumer Reports said.

      http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2014/07/22/bmw-buick-consumer-reports-score-regal/12988137/

      “Regal beat the Volvo S60 in a head-to-head road test. Ultimately, the Regal wound up finishing just one point shy of the class-leading BMW 328i and tied the Mercedes-Benz C250 for second place in the organization’s overall ratings of upscale sport sedans — while costing thousands less…”

      Jake Fisher, the publication’s director of automotive testing, says, “The Regal is a thoroughly developed and satisfying midsized sports sedan that’s more reminiscent of a German sports car…

      And here is from Consumer Reports directly, July 2014

      http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2014/09/updated-buick-regal-and-volvo-s60-challenge-the-class-leaders/index.htm

      …If you still think of Buick as a brand only for octogenarians with a taste for whitewall tires and vinyl roof treatments, the Regal will change your mind in one test drive. It’s a thoroughly developed and satisfying midsized sports sedan that’s more reminiscent of an Audi A4 than a softly sprung luxo-barge. That European feel is no coincidence, because the Regal is based on a German design from General Motors’ Opel division…

      One last one, with quotes from Consumer Reports and sales data…

      http://www.thedetroitbureau.com/2014/07/consumer-reports-gives-buick-regal-thumbs-up/

      …Regal sales are up nearly 40% through the first half of this year. Buick’s overall sales are up 12.5% in the first half of the year…

      and

      …The Regal is currently on Consumer Reports Recommended list…

      Consumer Reports – schilling for General Motors.

      You can have the last word – love you!

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        40% more than zero is still zero, or 1,246 sales in July as the case may be.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        You crack me up, APaGttH.

        Regal as coupe makes 100% more sense, I would drop my disagreement for the model if when it returns to Germany the sedan is no longer imported. As it stands, it s redundant vehicle with an inadequate back seat who had known teething issues alongside two other excellent, if not superior, sedans. I realize Buick as it was known is more or less dead, but shoe-horning Opels into the brand where they clearly do not belong in general does not seem like a winning strategy (Saturn was a dead man walking so it did not matter). If we’re going to play musical chairs with foreign market models they should try bringing over the Chinese spec’d Buicks instead next time.

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    Consumer Report loves the Regal! Very highly rated.

    And they love the Impala, first time in decades an American car rated so highly!

    (Last time I recall them lavishing so much praise was for the new-for-1977 Chevy Caprice. “Disadvantages: None important enough to mention”.)

    I agree, Regal is a heavy car for it’s size–but what isn’t, with a BMW 3-series now weighing 3500 lbs–about the same as a 1975 Chevy Nova with a V8, and more than a 79 Chevy Malibu V6, a much roomier rear-drive car.

    I was not aware of the quality issues though.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Buick Regal is on the Consumer Reports recommended list – its my understanding that black dot queens get recommended by Consumer Reports.

      July 23, 2014…

      http://www.thedetroitbureau.com/2014/07/consumer-reports-gives-buick-regal-thumbs-up/

      …The Regal is currently on Consumer Reports Recommended list…

      Sales are also up 40% this year, but nobody wants one.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        “Buick Regal is on the Consumer Reports recommended list – its my understanding that black dot queens get recommended by Consumer Reports.”

        Red dots. Actually, half-red; the criteria is thus:
        * The car needs to be average or better in reliability
        * The car must not have any outstanding safety recalls or stop-sale alerts
        * The car must not suck to drive (which is why the Yaris and Insight were never recommended)

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        They sold 1,246 of them in July. That’s as good as nobody when it comes to midsized sedans. Regal sales are rounding error for the best cars in the class. Back in the mediocre days of the UAW-3, GM and Ford killed off the MonteCarlo and Thunderbird when they dropped to 70,000 sales a year. In these days of number juggling and rebranded Daewoos? That would probably constitute a big success for a car that doesn’t just sell on sub-prime financing or to fleets that are willing to risk killing their drivers.

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          Huh.

          Through June of 2014 Buick has outsold:

          1) Acura
          2) Audi
          3) Infiniti

          …and is 2/10 of one point behind Lexus for US marketshare through June 30, 2014. This is acomplished with only five models. Encore, Enclave, Verano, Regal, and LaCrosse

          Oh I know, here is the link sweetie.

          http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/2014/07/usa-june-2014-auto-brand-sales-results-rankings.html

          Retail versus fleet sales starts aren’t the easiest to find – but according to GM Authority, before they changed their table data, by mid-2013 Buick fleet sales was…

          …a whopping 11.5%…

          http://gmauthority.com/blog/2013/06/general-motors-u-s-sales-up-3-percent-to-252984-units-in-may-2013-by-the-numbers/

          As far as keys, since that seems to be your implication about killing drivers – only a base Regal comes with a key – all other models as of 2014 are push button start.

          Lets see you mumbled about Daewoos, but the Regal is an Opel, you brought up W-Bodies and the MN Thunderbird, but you’re getting better – not once did you mention Obama.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            In case someone hit your reset button, we’re discussing the Regal here. It doesn’t sell. 1,246 sales in July, which you pointed out represents a huge increase. Daewoos with plastichrome grills and badges may be selling well for Buick, but the Regal is dead weight. You left out that Buick outsold Maserati, Morgan, and Bentley too, by the way. We all know that sales volume is the measure of prestige.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            OK honey, lets try this one more time than. Cars the Buick Regal has outsold year-to-date in no particular order

            1) Lexus CT
            2) Acura ILX
            3) Acura RLX/RL
            4) Acura TSX
            5) …and is 2,800 units behind the TL
            6) Infiniti G Sedan

            The Audi A4 has found just over 20,000 buyers – and in your above post you called out sales less than 70K a year. So I guess 20K Audi A4 sold is a total failure. Audi should just give up.

            I basically stopped looking at this point (the C-series and the IS are doing well, with the C-series leading).

            However only the 3-series is at or close, of the luxury or near luxury marks, to your 70K annualized run rate which you call bad. Well OK, you might get “pedantic” on close and say, “HA I was right! The C-series is close!!!”

            You can of course – have the last word again – I know it is so important to you.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            A list of cars from more prestige oriented brands that are either flops or dead is hardly proof that the Regal is a strong selling volume midsized car. I live in the land of near luxury and luxury cars. There are 3 Buick Regals at dealers within a 25 mile radius of me versus 66 Veranwoos and 53 Encwhores. Sure, a place where people have college degrees and taste isn’t going to be Buick’s market, but the Regal is still the scarcest of the scarce. I apologize for the mention of the 70K sales line once used for product planning decisions by the UAW-3. It was obviously a far too nuanced point which was unfair for me to introduce.

        • 0 avatar
          NormSV650

          “2014 Buick Regal Turbo is more powerful, better equipped, and larger all around than the similarly priced Audi A3, BMW 320i, Mercedes-Benz CLA250, and Volkswagen CC.”

          http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/sedans/1403_2014_buick_regal_turbo_fwd_first_test/?fullsite=true

          CJ must be very disgruntled to land in Honda land.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            That is true of every other $31k sedan on the market, and most of them have it all over the Regal. Camry, Altima or Accord V6? Passat? Pentastar Charger? Why would I be disgruntled in Honda land? All 3 are still proving to be the best cars we’ve owned. The worst thing is sometimes having to drive company cars or others. Today I got stuck with a CLS.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Reliability in CR for the Regal right now: the ’11 got a below average, the ’12 got an average, the ’13 didn’t have enough data for a score and the ’14 is predicted at average.

        Even before the facelift to the Regal, CR were fans of the car and I think it has been recommended since ’12.

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    Re: Petezeiss

    In the 70s, and today, am American who want to buy a S-Class Mercedes can go and buy one equipped comparably to the same one in Germany for a reasonably similar price. Ditto a Mistubishi. Both are ‘acquired’ tastes.

    While most American cars in the 70s would not work out for most Japanese, some affluent Japanese would have bought an American car if not for the onerous taxes and regulations imposed by our friendly Japanese government that made it impractical to sell US cars.

    Before 1965, when Japanese cars really sucked, by any objective measure, Japan had a closed market. To protect it’s feeble industry. Until it could grow. And export cars. And make Japan wealthier in the process.

    Ditto Korea. A Korean who buys a Cadillac may have his tax returns audited.

    If you knew that buying a Lexus or BMW or Benz would get you an audit, might you not be more inclined to buy a Cadillac?

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      “If you knew that buying a Lexus or BMW or Benz would get you an audit, might you not be more inclined to buy a Cadillac?”

      Under the Obama regime, this does seem to be the road we’re on.

    • 0 avatar
      petezeiss

      tomLU86,

      I realize that there were quite a few protectionist measures carried out by the Japanese government in the ’70s and ’80s like the notorious dock-side “safety inspections” requiring a nearly complete disassembly of each imported vehicle.

      But as you say, “most American cars in the 70s would not work out for most Japanese”. Sure, a niche market could have existed for the wealthy, just like Harley-Davidson has a small but intense Japanese following. But that peculiarity doesn’t deny the spectacular superiority of Japanese motorcycles for the past 40+ years.

      The implicit claim made by those who insist that the Japanese blocked American vehicles during those decades is that it would have made any difference to the average Japanese car buyer. No major overseas market was lost by Americans to Japanese protectionism because American cars of the era could only have been expensive, impractical playthings for the wealthy.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        I don’t see value in the discussion. If GM and Ford want to spend the $ and time to invest in Japan, they are free to do so. Will they face an uphill battle? Absolutely, but mostly because their vehicles are ill suited to the market.

        But just look at the JDM – it’s small and shrinking, and crowded with 7+ domestic competitors, as well as German and other carmakers. Why bother?

        China and India are the big prizes. Even Ford and GM are figuring that out.

        • 0 avatar
          petezeiss

          Well, I see value in this particular discussion because I think I have a Japanese guy on the other end. I sure wish more would comment here.

          But yeah, this DAMN JAPS KEPT US OUT!! (drool, pant, drool) gripe got old back in Bertel’s time.

  • avatar
    bullnuke

    Final assembly for my ’90 Chevrolet cab-and-a-half Cheyenne was Oshawa (built Nov ’89). Best quality vehicle I’d bought up to that time. In 2001 I was tempted to drive it up to Oshawa and sit in the parking lot to shake hands with the builders. Never had an issue with it after 16-years and 278k miles (gave it to my daughter; she sold it and it’s still running well, though rusted in the usual locations, at 355k miles). 4.3 V6 w/5-spd 2wd. Always a solid 20 mpg and used no oil. Well, maybe one issue – started blowing blue smoke at 200k. Popped off the passenger side valve cover and cleaned out the oil return in the head. Replaced the cover (w/ original gasket) and, voila! No more smoke. What a shame.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    Every time a big expensive – and paid for – factory closes shop because the owners can’t think of anything they can economically build there, it’s a sign of serious structural economic problems. You can chalk it up to globalization or evil labor unions, but if you leave it at that, you are dooming your economy to keep sliding in the race to the bottom. You might hit bottom when your wages are lower than China’s, but it might be that China slides down until their wages match those in Bangladesh. By this time, there is virtually no domestic commerce at all, because nobody can afford to buy anything. Globalization is a problem, but unfettered free trade is not necessarily the solution.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    So many issues and in reality probably no real solution.

    Free trade is all well and good as long is there is an even playing field.

    Why would first world nations (the USA and Canada for example) enter into free trade agreements with 2nd and 2rd world nations?

    Our cost of living is much higher. Our standard of living is much higher. We have better infrastructure and in return pay higher taxes. We have regulations regarding pollution, occupational health and safety and working conditions.

    Therefore our workers must earn more than those in the 2nd and 3rd world. And even without higher wages, the property taxes, corporate taxes and regulations make operating more expensive in a 1st world nation.

    Therefore we should only have free trade with nations with comparable costs, regulations and expectations.

    Once we allow the free importation of goods from 3rd world nations, manufacturing will naturally move there.

    Brazil and Mexico now produce more vehicles than Canada. Unless Canadian plants get high profit, high quality products they are at an unfair disadvantage.

    And the traditional D3 manufacturers no longer have an incentive to produce in Canada, if anything they are under pressure to transfer jobs back to the U.S.

    Canada used to have a price advantage. The Canadian dollar was low and the company/employer did not have to include medical benefits as there is universal healthcare in Canada. Those advantages have now been reduced or eliminated.

    As someone who has links to the old GM van plant in Scarboro, I know how devastating the loss of these jobs can be.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      So, why not scale sporting teams according to performance?

      Also, the ‘smart’ kids in school should have their performance downgraded to give the ‘dumber’ kids an advantage. Why should smarter kids with an advantage all be doctors, why not give numpties a chance.

      Free trade promote progress. How did the Canadians, Americans, Australians become rich? By having an adavantage, just like the developing nations.

      So, once you make your millions no one else is allowed?

      Hmmm……..unionist/socialist/luddite by any chance???

  • avatar
    Katzz

    I know the GM oshawa plant well.
    GM has a whole bunch of issues with the Oshawa plant.
    Its old, its dirty and the roof leaks terribly everywhere in the plant … The animal urine and feces, u can smell and see everywhere, cats rats squirrles .
    Thats where your caddy come from ..The whole building needs to be repaired.
    I doubt GM will put out that kind of cash ……


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