March 2014’s Canadian auto sales results displayed a further willingness on the part of buyers to gradually forsake cars and turn to smaller crossovers.
The government of Ontario has announced it will sell its shares in General Motors as part of an effort to fund new public transit programs in the Greater Toronto Area. But the move could end up hastening the demise of GM’s Oshawa plant, located in the same metropolitan area.
Globally, auto makers spent $17.6 billion on expanding manufacturing facilities – and none of that was spent in Canada.
“This life came so close to never happening” -David Benioff, The 25th Hour
A bit of fortuitous timing can make all the difference. Just missing a particular wave by even the briefest interval can radically alter a particular outcome.
(N.B. Unlike most Sunday Stories, this story is true. Names, dates and other details may have been modified.)
UPDATE: Mere minutes after our prior editorial was published Chrysler announced that they will be withdrawing their request for funding from the Canadian government, and
“…confirmed its intention to begin to allocate to our Windsor, Ontario plant the development and industrialization of the next “people carrier” architecture (the so-called next minivan and derivatives)”
We are awaiting a call from Chrysler to discuss the matter. In the mean time, you can read the official announcement here.
The biggest news for North America’s auto industry was announced at Geneva, and it wasn’t a new product debut. According to Automotive News, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne has decided on a location for the next assembly plant, and things aren’t looking great for the current plant in Windsor, Ontario.
Forgotten in the industry’s excitement over a record year for Canadian auto sales was the challenging start to 2013.
Sales in 2012 had risen to a ten-year-high, and in each of the 2013’s first three months, sales were down, year-over-year. The predicted record sales level eventually materialized, but not in the first quarter.
At the Canadian International Auto Show, Nissan debuted their Canadian-only Micra, an A-Segment car that takes up the Kia Rio’s one-time mantle of being the sole new car available for less than $10,000. At the show, we learned a few things about the Micra.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV boss Sergio Marichonne, in talks with federal and provincial governments in Canada for loans to help prepare their factories in Windsor and Brampton, Ontario for new vehicle production, may come to a decision about moving forward with plans for where new minivans will be built by the end of March 2014.
At the Canadian International Auto Show, Nissan announced that the new Micra, slated for Canada only, would slot in just under $10,000, making it the cheapest new car on sale in Canada. Compared to world markets, the Micra has some Canadian-only features, like an upgraded HVAC system and split-folding rear seat (to carry hockey bags and other large parcels).
On the heels of reports that put a $3.6 billion pricetag on Chrysler’s investment at two Canadian plants, another Canadian outlet is reporting that the money would ensure the future of the two plants for decades to come.
With Canada’s federal government set to increase its own Auto Innovation Fund by $500 million CAD, a report by The Globe and Mail’s Greg Keenan now claims that Chrysler will look for as much as $700 million in government funding as part of a $2.3 billion investment in its Windsor, Ontario manufacturing facilities. In addition, the increased sum would also see funds allocated to the Brampton, Ontario plant that builds the Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger and Dodge Challenger