Tag: Canada

By on October 17, 2017

FCA Brampton Assembly Line Challenger & 300 - Image: FCA

As the fifth round of NAFTA talks come to a close, Mexico and Canada continue to reject the United States’ demands regarding automobiles, diary, dispute panels, government procurement and the sunset clause. Among the more recent automotive proposals kicking up dirt is the U.S.’s wish to include steel in NAFTA’s tracing list and increase the mandatory local content of every car built in North America. The attempt has annoyed foreign officials and left the industry fretting about increased production costs and complexity.

The increasingly tense nature of the talks has left many wondering if President Trump will make good on his earlier threat to leave NAFTA. However, plenty of analysts are of the mind that a deal will eventually be reached between the three countries. (Read More…)

By on October 16, 2017

cami-assembly factory circa 2013

General Motors and Unifor representation at the CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, announced a tentative agreement on Friday. Today, that deal proved amicable to both parties, as union employees voted to approve a new four-year contract with the automaker — ending a month-long strike at a factory producing the incredibly popular Chevrolet Equinox crossover.

While the deal includes a salary increase of four percent over four years and $8,000 in lump sum payments over the lifespan of the proposal, it lacks Unifor’s primary demand of a written assurance that CAMI will remain the lead producer of the Equinox. GM proved unwilling to give way on that issue, which is likely due to the ongoing and uncertain nature of NAFTA renegotiations.

“Despite our every effort, General Motors steadfastly refused to accept our members’ reasonable demand to designate the CAMI plant as General Motors lead producer for the Chevy Equinox,” Unifor president Jerry Dias wrote to local union members prior to the factory vote.  (Read More…)

By on October 13, 2017

lansing assemblyl

Automotive trade groups have issued warnings about the scrapping of the North American Free Trade Agreement all year. In January, the Center for Automotive Research claimed killing NAFTA could result in the elimination of at least 31,000 auto jobs within the United States. This week, a new study sponsored by the Motor Equipment Manufacturers Association upped that estimation to around 50,000.

With early negotiations not going particularly well at the moment, the new tally serves as a potential warning. If NAFTA is abandoned, North American countries would all likely revert to rules dictated by the World Trade Organization, resulting in higher tariffs from all sides.

While 50,000 fewer jobs is the upper echelon of what could be expected, a few things have to go wrong for it to reach that point. First, Mexico and Canada would have to revert to pre-NAFTA tariff levels — which were comparably higher than the United States. If so, manufacturers would almost assuredly begin sourcing more parts from the same countries where the vehicles are assembled, and gradually move production to lower-cost regions like China.  (Read More…)

By on October 12, 2017

cami assembly factory

Talks between General Motors and Canadian union Unifor seem to have broken down after the automaker mentioned it might wind down production of the Chevrolet Equinox at the striking CAMI Assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ontario. Negotiators explained to the union that the cost of continuing the month-long strike would mean losing more business to Mexico, which has already been filling Canadian production gaps since before the strike began.

GM currently builds the popular Equinox at three North American facilities: the CAMI plant, and two Mexican plants. With a shrinking 41-day supply of rolling stock at the end of last month, the facilities located south of the border can’t produce an equivalent volume to the Canadian worksite. However, GM suggests that could change if Unifor doesn’t throw in the towel soon. (Read More…)

By on October 11, 2017

2018 Audi Q5 - Image: AudiIn concert with the American auto industry, Canada’s auto industry reported an all-time record year of sales in 2016.

The difference? In Canada, 2016 represented the fourth consecutive year of record sales. Another difference? Canadian auto sales just kept on growing throughout 2017. Most recently, that streak of increases included an 8-percent year-over-year uptick in September 2017. Sales last month were 16-percent stronger than they typically are in September.

Month after month after month, Canada’s auto industry just keeps on smashing records. It’s as if the U.S. auto industry posted its banner year of 17.5 million sales in 2016 and then bettered that with 18.5 million sales in 2017. (Read More…)

By on October 3, 2017

2018 Mazda CX-3 - Image: MazdaEvery Sunday or Monday, a very generous man appears in my driveway with a new car. The same man, in not as generous a fashion, also removes a car from my driveway. The most recent exchange involved the arrival of a fourth-generation 2018 Kia Rio and the departure of the 2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 4Matic Coupe we reviewed last week.

“Chilly one today, eh?” I say.

“I’m preparing myself for some cold days in PEI this winter,” Mr. Sowerby says with a chuckle. We chat for a moment about a recent Chevrolet Traverse event that was slathered across my Twitter feed, and as Garry gets into the Mercedes-Benz to depart he says, “You’re getting a Mazda CX-3 with a six-speed stick next week.”

Huh? It can’t be. Seriously?

For real. (Read More…)

By on October 2, 2017

2018 Chevrolet Equinox - Image: Chevrolet

The sound of workers slapping together 2018 Chevrolet Equinox crossovers is not ringing through the streets of Ingersoll, Ontario, this morning.

A strike that began late on September 17th continues today after a weekend labor update that might have heralded good news turned into just another day on the picket line. The workforce at General Motors’ CAMI assembly plant, represented by Unifor Local 88, continue advocating for a new collective agreement that cements the plant’s future in GM’s production roster.

Meanwhile, inventories of the hot-selling crossover are dwindling. (Read More…)

By on September 29, 2017

nafta-secretariat

President Donald Trump entered into office threatening to abandon the North American Free Trade Agreement if the United States was not given a better deal immediately. But, after negotiations began, it looked as if his ultimatum would be unnecessary.

Now, U.S. officials involved in NAFTA negotiations are being accused of making proposals on issues Mexico and Canada have said they would never agree to. Are these bold negotiation tactics being used to place the U.S. in a better position for future issues, or are trade arbitrators intentionally trying to sabotage talks so Trump can make good on his promise to leave the agreement?   (Read More…)

By on September 26, 2017

2018 Mercedes-Benz C300 4Matic Wagon - Image: Mercedes-Benz CanadaIt took some doing.

Mercedes-Benz Canada first showed the wagon version of the fourth-generation C-Class 20 months ago at 2016’s Montreal Auto Show. All-wheel drive, a 2.1-liter diesel with 369 lb-ft of torque, and a profile deserving of all our praise was destined for Canadian showrooms despite Mercedes-Benz USA’s rejection of the wagon.

But there were hiccups. 13 months ago, we asked Mercedes-Benz about the C-Class Wagon’s arrival on this side of the Atlantic and received the following response: “We’re still waiting for certification.”

Mercedes-Benz never got the certification it desired, and diesel engines have disappeared from the automaker’s North American lineup. But by April 2017, we knew Mercedes-Benz had a new plan: the all-wheel drive would remain, but in place of the 2.1-liter diesel there’d be a 2.0-liter turbo C300 with 241 horsepower.

It’s finally here. And it’s still bound for America. (Read More…)

By on September 6, 2017

2017 Fiat 500L - Image: FCAFiat Chrysler Automobiles did not sell any Fiat 500Ls in Canada in August.

Hyperbole has gotten the best of modern society. You might say, “Those chips have no taste,” when asking your grocery-shopping spouse to stop buying those Garden Veggie Straws you so detest. But there is some taste; just not much. (Recommended: the rosemary olive oil flavor.)

“Alex Ovechkin doesn’t score goals any more,” your Capitals-loving son says. No, Ovechkin just doesn’t score as many goals as he used to.

Politicians never work together. There’s no sea ice in the Arctic. Subcompact crossovers always suck.

That’s the sort of rhetoric that minimizes the value of truth when truth is presented in an equally straightforward fashion. But in all seriousness, FCA Canada truly did not sell a single Fiat 500L in August 2017.

In fact, with alarming frequency, FCA Canada’s sales reports don’t include any Fiat 500L sales. But FCA Canada is sticking to its guns, unrelenting in the face of a horrifying popularity dearth, immutable when challenged by a Fiat lineup that needs an overhaul. FCA Canada confirmed as such to TTAC this morning: there will be a 2018 Fiat 500L. (Read More…)

By on August 29, 2017

Der neue Volkswagen T-Roc - Image: VolkswagenNot only is Volkswagen’s recently unveiled T-Roc subcompact crossover destined to avoid U.S. shores, Volkswagen’s Canadian dealers won’t be offering the T-Roc, either.

Revealed last week, we had always assumed the T-Roc was the logical next step for a Volkswagen brand that had suffered long and hard from a limited, delayed, premium SUV strategy in North America.

But it turns out Volkswagen of America will skip the T-Roc, likely in favor of a different small utility vehicle. So we asked Volkswagen Canada whether the T-Roc would arrive for the 2018 model year, the 2019 model year, or never at all.

Volkswagen’s response is the third option. “At least for now,” company spokesperson Thomas Tetzlaff tells TTAC.

Surely small-car-loving Canada — where the Honda Civic has been Canada’s top-selling car for 19 consecutive years and subcompact cars hold 19 percent more market share than they do in the U.S. — wants another subcompact crossover? Nah, not so much. Like Americans, Canadians haven’t fully latched onto the subcompact crossover, either. Not yet. (Read More…)

By on August 28, 2017

cami-assembly factory circa 2013

Unifor Local 88 just loaded its strike gun. Workers at General Motors’ Ingersoll, Ontario, assembly plant voted on Sunday to enact a strike if no labor agreement can be reached by next month. The union, which represents the CAMI factory employees, said 99.8 percent of workers at the plant voted for the strike authorization.

Negotiations started in July as GM announced it would lay off about 400 Ingersoll-based workers — resulting from the automaker’s previous decision to shift production of the GMC Terrain to Mexico. Unifor estimates roughly 200 workers took early retirement packages earlier this year.

About 2,450 hourly workers will be employed at the plant following the layoffs, as well as about 300 salaried workers. Now, the strike vote threatens the sole remaining model produced in Ingersoll — a strategically important one for GM. (Read More…)

By on August 23, 2017

lexus-parking-airport,Image: CBC News

We’re all familiar with the concept of executive parking spaces, and surely most of us know someone with a sign hanging in their garage that reads “Mopar Parking Only.” Both are annoying concepts highlighting one person’s perceived superiority over another but without any real consequences. After all, it’s not as if they’re stealing someone else’s space.

Thinking it might be a good idea to combine these two scenarios as part of a marketing ploy, Lexus teamed up with the Calgary Airport Authority to convert five primo parking spots into branded spaces. However, the locations they ended up replacing were designed for handicapped patrons. While that understandably didn’t go over well with travelers, you have to admit there is a certain level of prestige associated with displacing people who actually need something just because you want it for yourself.  (Read More…)

By on August 16, 2017

nafta-secretariat

The first round of the North American Free Trade Agreement renegotiations begins on Wednesday. U.S. President Donald Trump, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have planned to meet in Washington, D.C. on August 16th and stay through the 20th to discuss trade policy. Afterward, NAFTA debates will be led by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, and Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo.

While this all began as a Trump campaign promise to renegotiate a better deal for the United States (or abandon the trade agreement entirely), it has evolved over the last six months into an opportunity to modernize NAFTA policies. There’s no firm deadline for the three countries to reach an agreement, but Mexico is pushing for the process to wrap up before its presidential campaign begins in earnest in February. (Read More…)

By on August 14, 2017

2018 Honda Odyssey Touring – Image: © Timothy CainIn the 2016 calendar year, the Honda Odyssey was Canada’s 41st-best-selling vehicle.

In the first half of 2017, as the fourth-generation Odyssey’s tenure came to an end, the Honda van plunged 11 positions to 52nd. Odyssey sales were down 18 percent, year-over-year. Odyssey volume was on track to fall to a five-year low. Hashtag minivans dead.

Then, descending from the top of Mount Fuji with a Soichiro-shaped halo, hosting enough seats for the entire Odyssey SCCA pit crew, declaring 30 more horses than the original Acura NSX, equipped with enough gears in its transmission for 2.5 copies of the Toyota Yaris, and speaking with just enough of an Alabama twang to be authentically North Americanized, the 2018 Honda Odyssey appeared.

Canadian sales of the Honda Odyssey consequently rose to the highest level in 15 years. And so shall it ever be. (Read More…)

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