The Truth About Cars » oshawa http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Mon, 03 Aug 2015 16:00:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars » oshawa http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Automotive News Late, Wrong On Cadillac XTS De-Livery News http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/automotive-news-late-wrong-on-cadillac-xts-news-de-livery/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/automotive-news-late-wrong-on-cadillac-xts-news-de-livery/#comments Sat, 01 Aug 2015 16:00:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1131385 Automotive News reported earlier this month the death of the Cadillac XTS — expected to happen when the new, range-topping CT6 arrived at dealers — has been stayed until 2018 or 2019 thanks to the livery market and sales in China, sourcing “three people familiar with General Motors’ plans.” Sorry, Mike Colias, but you are about 3-and-a-half […]

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2015 Cadillac XTS Vsport front

Automotive News reported earlier this month the death of the Cadillac XTS — expected to happen when the new, range-topping CT6 arrived at dealers — has been stayed until 2018 or 2019 thanks to the livery market and sales in China, sourcing “three people familiar with General Motors’ plans.”

Sorry, Mike Colias, but you are about 3-and-a-half months too late and have the narrative all wrong.

The CT6 is the first model in Cadillac’s lineup to sport the brand’s new nomenclature and will also trigger similar changes to other models; the next Cadillac to be renamed will be the Cadillac SRX when the XT5 is introduced later this year.

At the media preview of the CT6, a model widely rumored to be the death knell for the front-wheel drive XTS, I was able to ask Cadillac head honcho Johan de Nysschen exactly what the new CT6 meant for the similarly sized, large, front-wheel-drive sedan.

“Ultimately, a car like XTS when it reaches the end of its lifecycle, will not be replaced,” de Nysschen said of the XTS at the CT6 preview event.

Speaking of the livery market specifically, de Nysschen continued, “We will not have a car that will lend itself to these kind of modifications and we will probably withdrawal from those markets.”

This narrative makes the most sense as Cadillac looks to position itself as a more premium offering against the likes of BMW and Audi. Offering up a model from the Cadillac range for stretch limousine and funeral service would only contribute to prolonging the brand’s image of building vehicles for the Florida snowbird set.

While Automotive News is reporting Cadillac will “XTend” life of its XTS into 2018 or 2019, the fact of the matter is 2019 is the planned end-of-life for the large sedan anyway — and when it dies, Cadillac’s livery business will likely die along with it.

Automotive News does highlight one worry, however, and that’s where the Cadillac XTS will be built after 2016. Currently, the large sedan is built in Oshawa, Ontario, and we all know how secure that facility’s future is these days.

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Canada, Ontario Governments Kick in Millions for Toyota Plant Upgrades http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/canada-kicks-millions-toyota-plant-upgrades/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/canada-kicks-millions-toyota-plant-upgrades/#comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 19:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1130465 Federal and provincial governments in Canada have offered more than $100 million (USD $77 million) for improvements to the Cambridge and Woodstock plants, CTV news is reporting. The incentives are part of a $421 million (USD $323 million) investment that will be used for light metal stamping in Woodstock, which makes the RAV4, and plant improvements […]

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2013 Toyota RAV4

Federal and provincial governments in Canada have offered more than $100 million (USD $77 million) for improvements to the Cambridge and Woodstock plants, CTV news is reporting.

The incentives are part of a $421 million (USD $323 million) investment that will be used for light metal stamping in Woodstock, which makes the RAV4, and plant improvements in Cambridge, which produces the soon-to-be-gone Toyota Corolla and Lexus RX vehicles. Toyota has said it will move the Corolla to Mexico, but hasn’t announced what would replace it at the Cambridge plant.

The Canadian government tipped in $34 million in 2013 for improvements to the Cambridge plant to produce the RX 450h.

Toyota’s announcement may be welcome news for Ontario’s car-building complex. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne recently told media in Toronto that building cars in Canada is becoming more expensive, and former Oshawa mayor John Gray calling for a GM boycott if the automaker doesn’t replace the Camaro when production ends in November.

Both Volvo and Land Rover have opted to build plants in Southern U.S. states that could potentially offer more in incentives than Canada’s most populous province, which is heaping more public debt on itself through public infrastructure projects.

The announcement could also signal a better working relationship between the governments and automakers. FCA may be looking for incentives as it prepares to make a $1 billion decision on its Brampton plant, which produces the Dodge Challenger, Charger and Chrysler 300.

Marchionne asked federal and provincial governments in 2014 for incentives to retool the company’s Windsor plant that produces minivans. After a contentious public debate over the size of the financial package requested, FCA decided to go it alone. The future of the Brampton plant, which will also require funding to finance retooling for the next-generation rear-wheel drive sedans, is uncertain.

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Former Oshawa Mayor: Boycott GM if Jobs are Lost http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/former-oshawa-mayor-boycott-gm-if-jobs-are-lost/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/former-oshawa-mayor-boycott-gm-if-jobs-are-lost/#comments Thu, 16 Jul 2015 22:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1118185 The former mayor of Oshawa, John Gray, is telling Canadians to boycott General Motors if the automotive giant pulls the plug on the Camaro at its plant north of the border, the Toronto Sun is reporting. “That’s the type of pressure that is applied so that GM comes to its senses and maintains production in Oshawa […]

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2011 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible at the Oshawa Assembly Plant

The former mayor of Oshawa, John Gray, is telling Canadians to boycott General Motors if the automotive giant pulls the plug on the Camaro at its plant north of the border, the Toronto Sun is reporting.

“That’s the type of pressure that is applied so that GM comes to its senses and maintains production in Oshawa after next year,” Gray told the newspaper this week.

General Motors said it would end production of the Chevrolet Camaro at the Oshawa Car Assembly plant and move production to Michigan on Nov. 20. Gray said the move would end about 1,000 jobs at the plant, and dim the prospects of an already bleak future for the plant.

Increasing energy costs and other factors are driving automakers out of the area, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles chief executive Sergio Marchionne told Toronto reporters last week.

Local workers say the move would devastate the local economy.

“It doesn’t just affect General Motors, it affects the entire community. For every job inside, it affects seven jobs outside,” Chris Black, a worker at the Oshawa plant, told CTV.

Gray said GM is indebted to Canadians after the auto bailouts.

“Canadian taxpayers bailed out GM Canada, allowing it to survive. Recently, the federal and provincial governments have sold their shares in the company … Now they have no say over the company.

“Canadian taxpayers lost $3 billion on the sales of the shares. And now GM doesn’t plan on having a presence here. That’s a pretty compelling story.”

GM Canada announced in late April that the company would hire 100 software and control engineers for future connected vehicle endeavors. However, it won’t be until next year that GM will announce its plans for the assembly facilities.

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Oshawa Camaro Production Ceases November 20, Reduced To Three Shifts http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/oshawa-camaro-production-ceases-november-20-reduced-three-shifts/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/oshawa-camaro-production-ceases-november-20-reduced-three-shifts/#comments Thu, 30 Apr 2015 17:50:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1057122 First announced December 19, 2012, GM Canada’s Oshawa Assembly facility will officially cease production of the Camaro on November 20, 2015 in conjunction with the car’s next generation, GM announced today. Camaro production remained at the Oshawa plant a year longer than initially promised in 2012. Assembly shifts will be reduced from four to three […]

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2011 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible at the Oshawa Assembly Plant

First announced December 19, 2012, GM Canada’s Oshawa Assembly facility will officially cease production of the Camaro on November 20, 2015 in conjunction with the car’s next generation, GM announced today. Camaro production remained at the Oshawa plant a year longer than initially promised in 2012.

Assembly shifts will be reduced from four to three between the “Flex” and “Consolidated” lines. Currently, the “Flex” line is on three shifts while the smaller line is on one shift. GM Canada will “begin a voluntary retirement canvass” to reduce worker head count before implementing any layoffs. GM Canada President, Stephen K. Carlisle, stated “60 percent of our hourly workforce are nearing retirement” age and the company will offer incentives to eligible employees looking to retire early.

Chevrolet Impala, Buick Regal and Cadillac XTS production will continue on the “Flex” line for now. Regal production is scheduled to move to Germany by 2017 while the XTS will be discontinued at the end of its lifecycle in 2019. Both the XTS and Impala are also produced in Michigan. The “Consolidated” line currently builds the Impala Limited – a previous-generation W-body sedan – and the Chevrolet Equinox, the latter which is also produced in Ingersoll, Ontario.

GM Canada and Unifor are working together to “examine a range of longer-term opportunities and competitiveness enhancements for Oshawa Assembly,” stated the release today. The future of Oshawa will be announced after Unifor national bargaining next year.

On the same day, GM also announced $5.4b in investments aimed at the company’s Pontiac, Lansing, and Warren, Michigan facilities.

The announcement comes after GM Canada committed $800m to Ingersoll and another 100 jobs toward expanding connected car and green technology development at GM Canada’s Oshawa Engineering Centre.

 

 

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GM Canada Hiring Over 100 Software, Control Engineers For Connected-Vehicle Mandate in Oshawa http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/gm-canada-hiring-100-software-control-engineers-connected-vehicle-mandate/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/gm-canada-hiring-100-software-control-engineers-connected-vehicle-mandate/#comments Tue, 28 Apr 2015 16:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1055689 Following a new connected-vehicle and green tech mandate, GM Canada’s Canadian Engineering Centre in Oshawa, Ontario is hiring 100 engineers to support the mandate. The 100 software and control engineers will be responsible for working on connected-vehicle, environmental and mobility solutions, according to GM Canada. Said work includes “development of new software and active controls […]

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GM Canada

Following a new connected-vehicle and green tech mandate, GM Canada’s Canadian Engineering Centre in Oshawa, Ontario is hiring 100 engineers to support the mandate.

The 100 software and control engineers will be responsible for working on connected-vehicle, environmental and mobility solutions, according to GM Canada. Said work includes “development of new software and active controls that allow customers to take advantage of high-speed data links between automobiles and mobile networks,” lightweighting, and alternative fuels.

GM Canada president and managing director Steve Carlisle stated that the new hires would give his subsidiary the opportunity “to take advantage of a wealth of talent in mobile technologies, software and advanced automotive engineering available in Canada’s leading universities and other partner organizations.” GM global sales chief Mark Reuss added that development of those technologies go a long way toward delivering new models with the features his company’s consumers desire, and praised the new initiative.

GM Canada also plans to use social media to connect with all Canadians as the center’s team goes to work on those technologies.

[Photo credit: GM Canada]

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Editorial: $3.5 Billion And Counting http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/editorial-3-5-billion-counting/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/editorial-3-5-billion-counting/#comments Wed, 08 Apr 2015 15:02:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1039937 The final tally is in for the Canadian taxpayer. With the Canadian government unloading the last of its shares in General Motors, the estimated loss is said to be $3.5 billion. For the purposes of this column, the bailout of GM and Chrysler is settled, at least as far as debating whether it should have […]

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GM Oshawa. Photo courtesy unknown.

The final tally is in for the Canadian taxpayer. With the Canadian government unloading the last of its shares in General Motors, the estimated loss is said to be $3.5 billion.

For the purposes of this column, the bailout of GM and Chrysler is settled, at least as far as debating whether it should have been carried out or not. To paraphrase Sean Bean in Ronin, the automakers “got the swag, kept the money, job well done”. American cars have never been better, factories are still humming along, labor costs have come down and may be reduced even further. For the American auto industry, it’s hard to think of a better outcome.

North of the 49th parallel, things are not so rosy. Investment in the auto sector continues to slip away from the Great White North, with Mexico and the United States bleeding away production. While Ford, Chrysler, Honda and Toyota have made investments in their Canadian plants to help retool them for new product, there hasn’t been a new standalone plant built since before the bailout.

On the other hand, the biggest news in Canada’s auto manufacturing sector is the unabated ebbing away of product from GM’s Oshawa plant. Oshawa was once a flagship plant for GM – to this day, they are still known for producing some of GM’s highest quality products. But in recent years, new product that was once built at Oshawa has been awarded to GM plants in the United States, Mexico and even Germany. At the same time, no new products have been awarded to the plant.

While GM claims that it will take them until the end of 2016 to come to a decision on the plant’s fate, a closer analysis reveals a bleaker picture. Two major agreements are set to expire in 2016 – the agreement between Unifor (formerly the Canadian Auto Workers union) and GM, as well as the Vitality Commitment signed by GM (which binds GM to producing 16 percent of its output in Canada, as a condition of receiving bailout funds). Once these expire, GM will essentially have no obligations to Canada, save for two smaller plants in Ontario, which build the Theta crossovers and selected powertrains respectively.

Given these circumstances, it would be an opportune time to close Oshawa. The fallout for the town, which is literally dominated by General Motors (the company has its Canadian headquarters and an R&D center located there), would be nothing short of devastating. But in today’s corporate environment, these ties mean absolutely nothing. Canada’s car market is small enough that any anti-GM backlash would mean nothing. If GM can weather the storm following its shutdown of Holden’s Australian plants, it will survive this scenario.

But Australia didn’t help keep GM afloat in a time of acute need. Canada did. Closing Oshawa may be a financially prudent decision when viewed from the RenCen, but it would be an enormous middle finger to Canada. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to imagine any other scenario playing out.

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General Motors Cutting Production To Relieve Inventory Glut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/general-motors-cutting-production-relieve-inventory-glut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/general-motors-cutting-production-relieve-inventory-glut/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 15:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1008274 Facing growing dealer inventories, General Motors is cutting back production at two of its plants to adjust supply and demand. Automotive News reports Orion Assembly in Detroit and the Flex line at Oshawa Car Assembly in Oshawa, Canada will be idled in March and April, respectively, each plant to idle for four days. Orion is […]

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Facing growing dealer inventories, General Motors is cutting back production at two of its plants to adjust supply and demand.

Automotive News reports Orion Assembly in Detroit and the Flex line at Oshawa Car Assembly in Oshawa, Canada will be idled in March and April, respectively, each plant to idle for four days. Orion is responsible for the Chevrolet Sonic and Buick Verano, while the Flex line handles the Chevrolet Camaro and Impala, Buick Regal, and Cadillac XTS.

The reduction in production comes amid consumer demand for trucks and crossovers over said vehicles, of which the Sonic and Regal hold the highest inventory levels at 216 and 213 days as of February 1, 2015. The Sonic’s inventory level is the highest since the subcompact’s August 2011 debut, while the Regal jumped to its level from just 96 days back on January 1.

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Editorial: It’s Too Late For Oshawa http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/editorial-late-oshawa/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/editorial-late-oshawa/#comments Mon, 08 Dec 2014 19:56:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=956938 Not long ago, Canada was, according to ex-GM CEO Dan Akerson, the most expensive place in the world to build a car. A strong Canadian dollar meant that the cars and crossovers built at GM’s plants in Oshawa and Ingersoll, Ontario, weren’t as profitable as those built in the US or Mexico, where labor costs […]

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Click here to view the embedded video.

Not long ago, Canada was, according to ex-GM CEO Dan Akerson, the most expensive place in the world to build a car. A strong Canadian dollar meant that the cars and crossovers built at GM’s plants in Oshawa and Ingersoll, Ontario, weren’t as profitable as those built in the US or Mexico, where labor costs were significantly lower.

But  even a newly weakened Canadian dollar isn’t going to save Oshawa.

TTAC has been predicting the end of Oshawa for nearly two years, The Globe and Mail (Canada’s newspaper of record), has come around to this notion, citing similar logic as our previous reports – namely, that all of Oshawa’s product can be built at other factories, or is being moved away from Oshawa entirely.

While some products, like the Chevrolet Camaro, are being moved due to a change in architecture (the next-gen Camaro will be built in the same factory as its platform-mate, the Cadillac ATS), others are being moved due to labor costs (the popular Theta crossovers will be produced in Mexico and Tennessee) or contractual obligations (the next-generation Buick Regal is almost certainly being built at an under-utilized Opel factory in Germany). In the case of the W-Body Chevrolet Impala (sold as a fleet only vehicle) its lifespan is coming to an end, and with it, a dedicated assembly plant, the ancient Oshawa Consolidated Line, which has already been given one stay of execution.

The Oshawa Flex Line, on the other hand, is a modern assembly plant that can build everything from the Camaro to the new Impala to the Equinox CUV all on one line. But even that won’t be enough to save it from closing, not when every single product can be made cheaper in Mexico, in the Southern United States or at the UAW’s lower, two-tier wage scale. If it were not for the Vitality Commitment signed by GM, (which promised to maintain 16 percent of vehicle production in Canada in exchange for bailout funds), the plant would probably be closed by now.

Instead, the earliest GM can depart is 2016, and the plant’s closure will be a devastating blow to a town that is as invested in General Motors as Green Bay is the Packers. According to The Globe and Mail, 3,600 jobs would be lost from the Oshawa plants- good, full-time jobs that are badly needed in a region that is economically limping along after years of a rout in manufacturing.

But discussion of a moribund auto industry for Ontario is a bit of a stretch. Chrysler, Ford, Honda and Toyota have all made significant commitments to Canadian manufacturing in the same window of time that GM has continuously cut product from Oshawa. The weaker Canadian dollar and strong auto sales both in Canada and the United States will only help.

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Another Bad Sign For Oshawa As GM Moves Chevrolet Equinox To Mexico http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/another-bad-sign-oshawa-gm-moves-chevrolet-equinox-mexico/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/another-bad-sign-oshawa-gm-moves-chevrolet-equinox-mexico/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 14:38:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=903322 News that GM will be sending some production of the Chevrolet Equinox to their Ramos Arizpe, Mexico plant passed without much fanfare – GM’s PR machine was much more interested in touting the move of the Cadillac SRX to Spring Hill, Tennessee. While the Equinox’s move to Mexico will backfill capacity at that plant, it […]

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News that GM will be sending some production of the Chevrolet Equinox to their Ramos Arizpe, Mexico plant passed without much fanfare – GM’s PR machine was much more interested in touting the move of the Cadillac SRX to Spring Hill, Tennessee. While the Equinox’s move to Mexico will backfill capacity at that plant, it spells another blow for the future of GM’s Oshawa, Ontario plant.

The Equinox (and its GMC Terrain twin) is primarily built at GM’s CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ontario. Currently overflow production is handled by Oshawa and Spring Hill. For the next generation, Ingersoll and Ramos Arizpe were in direct competition for the new crossovers, with Ingersoll eventually winning out.

The Theta crossovers (as the Equinox and Terrain are known internally) have been a big success for GM, necessitating the overflow production at two sites. But with the move to Mexico, it’s merely another bad sign for Oshawa, which has had a succession of product moving away from the plant, and absolutely nothing in the way of investment announcements or product commitments.

At this rate, Oshawa’s closing in 2016 (when GM’s bailout-related obligations to the Canadian government expire) is almost a certainty.

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The Future Of GM’s Oshawa Plant Looks Increasingly Bleak http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/future-gms-oshawa-plant-looks-increasingly-bleak/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/future-gms-oshawa-plant-looks-increasingly-bleak/#comments Fri, 01 Aug 2014 14:07:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=878114 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 […]

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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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General Motors To Release Valukas Report On Ignition Switch Thursday http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/general-motors-to-release-valukas-report-on-ignition-switch-thursday/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/general-motors-to-release-valukas-report-on-ignition-switch-thursday/#comments Thu, 05 Jun 2014 12:01:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=838009 Automotive News reports General Motors will release Thursday the results of attorney Anton Valukas’s three-month independent internal investigation into how and where the automaker went wrong before recalling 2.6 million vehicles affected by an out-of-spec ignition switch linked to 47 accidents and at least 13 fatalities. The announcement will come at 9 a.m. Eastern via […]

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File photo of General Motors logo outside its headquarters at the Renaissance Center in Detroit

Automotive News reports General Motors will release Thursday the results of attorney Anton Valukas’s three-month independent internal investigation into how and where the automaker went wrong before recalling 2.6 million vehicles affected by an out-of-spec ignition switch linked to 47 accidents and at least 13 fatalities. The announcement will come at 9 a.m. Eastern via webcast, with what CEO Mary Barra says will be an “unvarnished” look at the events surrounding the recall. In addition, GM will have an update on plans for compensating victims of the switch, though the attorney heading up the affair, Kenneth Feinberg, says a formal announcement won’t come until a few weeks down the road. Reuters adds the Valukas report will likely exonerate Barra, former CEO Dan Akerson and other senior execs and board members of any wrongdoing over the recall, with “a number of people” to be formally dismissed from the company due to their ties to recall. The report will be turned over to the federal government by the end of June.

Speaking of turned-over documents, The Detroit News reports some 1 million pages of records linked to the ignition switch have been turned over to the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee in its investigation into the matter, now expected to last well into the summer. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also delivered a total of 15,000 documents related to its handling of the recall to the committee, as well. As for when Barra will return for a second round of testimony before Congress, the first potential date may be set sometime in July at the earliest.

Finally, Reuters says Canadian labor union Unifor will strike at GM supplier Johnson Controls Whitby, Ontario plant if the powers that be refuse to reconsider plans to shut down the plant and move production outside of Canada in two years. The strike would “shut down GM” at its Oshawa plant according to statements made before the 36th UAW Constitutional Congress by Unifor president Jerry Dias, with the strike and negotiations set to commence in August. The Whitby plant supplies interior components for the Chevrolet Camaro and Impala, which are assembled in Oshawa alongside the Cadillac XTS and Buick Regal.

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Ontario Government Selling GM Shares To Fund Public Transit http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/ontario-government-selling-gm-shares-to-fund-public-transit/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/ontario-government-selling-gm-shares-to-fund-public-transit/#comments Mon, 14 Apr 2014 13:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=794802 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. According to The Globe and Mail, the […]

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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.

According to The Globe and Mail, the sale could net about $1.4 billion for the province, which would “wait over the next year for the best time to sell.” While divesting its stake isn’t necessarily a bad thing, the timing of the sale coincides with two events that have a major impact on Oshawa’s future.

The first is the expiration of GM’s Vitality Commitment, a document signed during the bailout as part of the terms for receiving government funds., which requires GM to keep 16 percent of production in Canada until GM’s loan to the Canadian and Ontario government is re-paid, or until December 31, 2016, whichever comes first.

With the loans repaid, and GM’s shares now being sold off, the biggest question mark for Oshawa will be the expiration of GM’s contract with Unifor (formerly the CAW), which will expire in 2016, along with Unifor’s Ford and Chrysler contracts.

Oshawa has slowly seen its product whittled away, most recently losing the Chevrolet Camaro to Lansing, Michigan where the Cadillac ATS is built. As of now, the Flex Line (one of two assembly lines) has no unique product, with the Cadillac XTS and Chevrolet Impala also built in Michigan, the Buick Regal is also built in Germany and the Chevrolet Equinox/GMC Terrain are made in multiple locations.

The Consolidated Line, which builds the old W-Body Impala for fleets, is due to be shut down in 2016. The big question is whether the Flex Line will follow. The 2016 date may provide an easy out for GM, since it can use the labor contract expiry to close down Oshawa.

The plant’s closing would be a devastating blow to Oshawa, which is just as much of a “GM Town” as Flint, Michigan was in the “Roger & Me” era. Of the Detroit Three plants currently operating in Ontario, Oshawa has been in jeopardy the longest – but at this point, it’s an inevitability.

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Report: Ontario Government To Sell GM Shares To Fund Public Transit http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/report-ontario-government-to-sell-gm-shares-to-fund-public-transit/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/report-ontario-government-to-sell-gm-shares-to-fund-public-transit/#comments Thu, 03 Apr 2014 00:08:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=786513 The Globe and Mail is reporting that the Ontario government may dump its shares of General Motors as a way of helping to fund expanded public transit in the Greater Toronto Area. According to the newspaper, the sale of GM shares will be part of a broader asset sale. With tax increases (namely an increased sales […]

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The Globe and Mail is reporting that the Ontario government may dump its shares of General Motors as a way of helping to fund expanded public transit in the Greater Toronto Area.

According to the newspaper, the sale of GM shares will be part of a broader asset sale. With tax increases (namely an increased sales tax and a new levy on gasoline sales) being ruled out, the asset sale will likely be used to make up the shortfall in funding for badly needed public transit for Toronto and its surrounding regions.

At current market value, the shares are valued at $1.4 billion CAD.

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Impala Limited Fleet Special Lives On To At Least 2016, Keeps Oshawa Open http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/impala-limited-fleet-special-lives-on-to-at-least-2016-keeps-oshawa-open/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/impala-limited-fleet-special-lives-on-to-at-least-2016-keeps-oshawa-open/#comments Mon, 28 Oct 2013 10:30:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=635785 While the all new 2014 Impala is impressing reviewers, like Consumer Reports calling it this year’s highest scoring sedan, General Motors has decided to keep the outgoing Impala as a low cost option for fleet customers until 2016. According to Automotive News, the automaker had originally planned to keep the old Impala, branded the Impala […]

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While the all new 2014 Impala is impressing reviewers, like Consumer Reports calling it this year’s highest scoring sedan, General Motors has decided to keep the outgoing Impala as a low cost option for fleet customers until 2016. According to Automotive News, the automaker had originally planned to keep the old Impala, branded the Impala Limited, in production for rental operators as well as government and corporate fleet customers, into next year. “The Impala Limited has done extremely well. Our fleet customers know the car and like it,” a GM spokesman said last week. “It’s a business opportunity that we want to continue to fulfill.”

The continued production of the Impala Limited means that the Oshawa Car Assembly plant in Ontario will remain open until at least 2016.

GM has used the strategy of offering fleet only models, like the Impala Limited and the Chevy Captiva, as a means of both making money from the fleet sales and reducing the chances that those fleet sales will negatively affect resale values and with them consumer loyalty. The car company has also kept outgoing Malibu fleet special models in production side by side with new models. Before the redesign, about two thirds of Impala sales in recent years have been to fleets and the car developed a reputation as a rental special. Chevy is hoping to flip those numbers and more, with a target of 70% retail sales for the Impala brand, improving the model name’s cachet with customers.

Higher transaction prices are what car companies are chasing these days, and the new Impala can cost between $1,000 and $5,000 more than a comparably equipped 2013.

The previous Impala has been in production since 2006. Analysts say that the tooling for that car has been paid for a long time ago so GM can offer it as an inexpensive, high volume fleet model and still make money on it, while not hurting the new model’s residual value.

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General Motors To Keep Oshawa Consolidated Line Open Past 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/general-motors-to-keep-oshawa-consolidated-line-open-past-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/general-motors-to-keep-oshawa-consolidated-line-open-past-2014/#comments Thu, 17 Oct 2013 14:33:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=626473 A brief memo from General Motors Canada confirmed that the Oshawa consolidated line, scheduled to close in 2014, will stay open until 2016. GM is citing strong market demand for the Chevrolet Equinox and the outgoing, Chevrolet Impala (sold as a fleet-only model) as a reason for the decision, but cautioned that ” All scheduling adjustments […]

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A brief memo from General Motors Canada confirmed that the Oshawa consolidated line, scheduled to close in 2014, will stay open until 2016. GM is citing strong market demand for the Chevrolet Equinox and the outgoing, Chevrolet Impala (sold as a fleet-only model) as a reason for the decision, but cautioned that ” All scheduling adjustments are subject to market demand”.

Under the terms of the bailout, GM must keep 16 percent of its production in Canada until it has repaid its loan obligations to the Canadian government, or until December 31, 2016. After that date, the future of Oshawa is uncertain.

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A Bleak Forecast For Canada’s Auto Industry http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/a-bleak-forecast-for-canadas-auto-industry/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/a-bleak-forecast-for-canadas-auto-industry/#comments Fri, 04 Oct 2013 19:46:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=606057 The Globe and Mail‘s Greg Keenan reported some bleak news for Canada’s auto industry today, with Canada’s auto manufacturing output set to decline by as much as 25 percent by 2020. While Canada built over 2.4 million vehicles in 2012, that number is expected to drop to 1.8 million by 2020, according to a report […]

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The Globe and Mail‘s Greg Keenan reported some bleak news for Canada’s auto industry today, with Canada’s auto manufacturing output set to decline by as much as 25 percent by 2020.

While Canada built over 2.4 million vehicles in 2012, that number is expected to drop to 1.8 million by 2020, according to a report cited by Joe McCabe, president of AutomotiveCompass LLC, who spoke at a conference for the  Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association of Canada.

Since 2010, auto makers have invested $42 billion in manufacturing, with Canada receiving a mere 5 percent of that. The biggest declines are expected to come at GM and Chrysler, with both companies moving key product out of their Canadian facilities. Production of the Chevrolet Camaro will move from GM’s Oshawa, Ontario plant to Michigan, while Chrysler’s axing of one of its minivan nameplates could see the end of a full three-shift schedule at its Windsor, Ontario plant.

GM is set to close its Consolidated Line at Oshawa next year, leaving only the Flex Line running. But no new product has been confirmed beyond 2016, when GM’s “vitality commitment” to the Canadian government runs out, and it is no longer obligated to keep a certain percentage of its vehicle production in Canada. No GM vehicle is exclusive to the Flex Line either, with the Buick Regal, Chevrolet Impala, Cadillac XTS, Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain all built at other facilities as well as Oshawa, while GM’s Dan Akerson has stated that Canada is the most expensive location in the world to build a car.

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Oshawa’s Future Looks Bleak As The Clock Runs Out On GM’s Vitality Commitment http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/oshawas-future-looks-bleak-as-the-clock-runs-out-on-gms-vitality-commitment/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/oshawas-future-looks-bleak-as-the-clock-runs-out-on-gms-vitality-commitment/#comments Mon, 24 Jun 2013 13:00:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=493097 Ontario is home to a number of auto plants, both import and domestic, union and non-union, as well as numerous suppliers. None of them are so tightly intertwined as General Motors is with the town of Oshawa, about 40 miles from Toronto (though, as any area resident will tell you, it’s really 2 hours away, […]

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Ontario is home to a number of auto plants, both import and domestic, union and non-union, as well as numerous suppliers. None of them are so tightly intertwined as General Motors is with the town of Oshawa, about 40 miles from Toronto (though, as any area resident will tell you, it’s really 2 hours away, thanks to our horrendously inadequate infrastructure). For nearly a century, GM has been building cars in Oshawa in one form or another, as the plant has established a reputation as one of GM’s best, consistently building high quality cars, trucks and crossovers over the decades. But that tradition may be coming to a close by 2016.

A report by The Globe and Mail comes to the same conclusion that TTAC has reached since last year: Oshawa’s future is looking bleak in the face of unfavorable exchange rates, high labor costs and an exodus of product, with no plans to replenish the factory with any new vehicles. Since the bailout era, Oshawa has seen a glut of product leave for other destinations. First to go were the full-size trucks, followed by the Chevrolet Impala (now split with Hamtramck, along with the Cadillac XTS) and then the Chevrolet Camaro.

Now, The Globe is reporting that the Buick Regal, which is currently built at Oshawa, may not be replaced after 2016, while another report by Ward’s Auto says otherwise. With sales of the smaller Verano cannibalizing Regal sales, Buick has a good reason not to replace the Regal. The Regal, based on the Opel Insignia, may also be a victim of rapidly declining D-segment car sales in Europe. Opel may not see a reason to replace a car that competes in one of the weakest segments, especially in light of Opel’s declining fortunes.

With the potential loss of the Regal and the confirmed exit of the Camaro, also that’s left is the Impala and XTS (which is in danger of leaving altogether for Hamtramck) and overflow production of the Theta crossovers, which are built in Ingersoll, Ontario, halfway between Oshawa and Windsor, Ontario, at a modern facility of their own, as well as the newly re-opened Spring Hill, Tennessee plant where workers are paid on the lower end of the UAW’s two-tier wage scale.  Even the CAW has expressed their concerns that Oshawa will wither and die if new product is not brought over.

Product aside, two other factors are likely weighing on GM. The first is the expiration of the “Vitality Commitment” in 2016, which was made as a condition of GM receiving bailout funds from the Canadian and Ontario governments. While the exact terms have never been spelled out, it’s been widely reported that the terms require GM to maintain a minimum of 16 percent of its production in Canada until it repays its loan obligations or until December 31, 2016, whichever comes first. It’s also not known what the penalty would be if GM violated these conditions. Not even the original document, publicly released by GM and the Canadian government, delves into these specifics.

The second factor, according to The Globe, is the billions of dollars in financial obligations that will be due for GM at the end of the decade, including rapidly rising pension costs, interest free loan payments and payments for a note issued by GM to help cover health care costs. The timing of these obligations and the lack of product for Oshawa is almost certainly coincidental, but they represent an extremely unfortunate convergence of poor circumstances for GM’s Canadian operations.

The loss of Oshawa would not only be a blow for GM, but a massive one for Canada’s manufacturing sector as well. Despite possessing an educated, productive and conscientious workforce, the auto industry is on a massive drive to cut costs across the board, while the CAW has repeatedly taken a tough line on any concessions, as they seek to get the best deal possible. The best case scenario would be if GM uses the threat of leaving Oshawa to help get some government “assistance”, similar to how both levels of government helped chip in to revitalize Ford’s Oakville plant. More ominously, this is the model followed by Holden and Ford Australia for many years. Australia, which has many things in common with Canada (population, an abundance of resources, a strong currency) is currently experiencing a severe decline in its own auto manufacturing sector, in part due to high labor costs.

On the other hand, December 31, 2016 is a long way away; GM’s planners may be looking that far down the road, but one Robert Anthony Lutz would be the first to tell them that it’s impossible to predict what will happen months from now, let alone that far away.

 

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W-Body Impala Gets A One-Year Stay Of Execution http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/w-body-impala-gets-a-one-year-stay-of-execution/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/w-body-impala-gets-a-one-year-stay-of-execution/#comments Wed, 13 Mar 2013 14:33:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=481071 The W-Body Chevrolet Impala, so beloved by the horribly biased, anti-Detroit, anti-GM staff and readership of TTAC, will live on for one more year, as a fleet vehicle dubbed the “Impala Limited”. The news came at the launch of the new Epsilon-based Impala, which is moving the full-size Chevrolet in a totally different direction. The […]

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The W-Body Chevrolet Impala, so beloved by the horribly biased, anti-Detroit, anti-GM staff and readership of TTAC, will live on for one more year, as a fleet vehicle dubbed the “Impala Limited”.

The news came at the launch of the new Epsilon-based Impala, which is moving the full-size Chevrolet in a totally different direction. The W-Body made up as much as 75 percent of its sales volume via fleets, but Chevrolet is looking to turn that around completely, with a target of 70 percent retail sales for the new Impala.

Aside from having the Impala Limited catering to fleet customers, continuing the W-Body helps GM keep their Oshawa plant running at capacity, particularly the Oshawa Consolidated Line, which is set to close once the W-Body ends production. This also helps GM meet its “Vitality Commitment’, which requires GM to maintain a minimum production level in Canada. The new Impala will split production between Oshawa and Michigan.

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CAMI Gets $250 Million Investment For Flexible Assembly Line http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/cami-gets-250-million-investment-for-flexible-assembly-line/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/cami-gets-250-million-investment-for-flexible-assembly-line/#comments Fri, 08 Mar 2013 22:28:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=480594 GM announced a $250 million dollar investment for the CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ontaro. CAMI is the main production site for the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain (also known as the Theta crossovers), two of GM’s best selling models, and the investment comes amid uncertainty over the fate of CAMI itself. Earlier in the year, […]

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GM announced a $250 million dollar investment for the CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ontaro. CAMI is the main production site for the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain (also known as the Theta crossovers), two of GM’s best selling models, and the investment comes amid uncertainty over the fate of CAMI itself.

Earlier in the year, CAMI was one of three sites being considered for production of the next generation Terrain and Equinox, along with GM’s former Saturn plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee and a site in Mexico. In its current state, CAMI is running beyond maximum capacity, with overflow being sent to GM’s Oshawa, Ontario plant as well as Spring Hill. Both Spring Hill and Mexico were being considered due to the lower costs; Tennessee is staffed mainly by new hires who are paid wages roughly half that of most UAW workers, while Mexico’s costs are substantially lower than in Canada or the United States.

While GM ultimately decided to invest the $250 million in CAMI, there is no official word on whether it will build the crossovers. A GM press release described the investment as being earmarked for a flexible assembly line, similar to the one utilized in Oshawa. A flex line is capable of building any number of vehicles on one assembly line. While crossovers make up 40 percent of Canada’s light vehicle exports, this opens the door for CAMI to produce almost anything in GM’s lineup.

On the other hand, there are a few factors that could pop up at a later date. CAMI could see Theta production migrate elsewhere, as GM attempts to increase the profitability of these vehicles, which sold over 300,000 units combined in 2012. Another issue is possible job losses associated with increased robotization, something the Canadian Auto Workers union is well aware of. And finally, the CAMI investment raises further questions about the future of Oshawa, which has slowly seen its product migrate back to American plants.

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Analysis: The Clock Is Ticking For GM’s Oshawa Plant http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/analysis-the-clock-is-ticking-for-gms-oshawa-plant/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/analysis-the-clock-is-ticking-for-gms-oshawa-plant/#comments Fri, 08 Mar 2013 13:30:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=480513 Upon receipt of a multi-billion dollar loan from the Canadian government, General Motors signed a “Vitality Commitment”, essentially a covenant in the loan agreement between GM and Canada’s government, which guaranteed that a certain amount of GM’s North American production would remain in Canada. That number is widely reported as being 16 percent, while page F-69 of GM’s IPO […]

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Upon receipt of a multi-billion dollar loan from the Canadian government, General Motors signed a “Vitality Commitment”, essentially a covenant in the loan agreement between GM and Canada’s government, which guaranteed that a certain amount of GM’s North American production would remain in Canada. That number is widely reported as being 16 percent, while page F-69 of GM’s IPO filings outlines that the covenant is valid until GM repays its loan commitments or until December 31, 2016, whichever comes later.

While Oshawa has widely regarded as one of GM’s best plants in terms of producing high-quality vehicles, the future of GM’s Oshawa plant is looking increasingly bleak.

The first post-bailout blow to Oshawa was the announcement that production of the next-generation Chevrolet Impala and Cadillac XTS would be split between Oshawa (its traditional home) and GM’s Hamtramck plant, which also builds the Chevrolet Volt and Malibu. Oshawa has long been the domain of the W-Body Impala and the announcement that GM would close the “Consolidated Line” that builds the Impala and GM’s Theta crossovers (the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain, both hot sellers) was a blow to Canadian manufacturing and the Canadian Auto Workers union.

The CAW managed to keep the Consolidated Line open until 2014 as part of their 2012 contract negotiations with the CAW. But the contract, which expires in late 2016, will coincide with the “drop dead” date for GM’s Canadian Vitality Commitment. What happens between now and 2016 is anyone’s guess, but it’s possible to draw some conclusions based on events that have transpired.

In early 2013, GM announced that production of the next-generation Chevrolet Camaro would shift to its Lansing, Michigan plant in 2015. The main reason behind the move is GM’s desire to consolidate production of vehicles built on its rear-drive Alpha platform to one location.  However, the move means an estimated 100,000 units of production will be taken off the “Flex Line”, where the Camaro, Impala, XTS, Theta crossovers and the Buick Regal are built – it’s entirely possible that the Flex Line could see a reduction from three shifts to two once the Camaro is gone.

The remaining product is hardly Oshawa’s saving grace. The Theta vehicles are mostly built at GM’s CAMI facility in Ingersoll, Ontario, as well as in Spring Hill, Tennessee (which handles overflow production, much like Oshawa). Like GM’s Michigan plants, wages at Spring Hill are significant lower than in Ontario. Spring Hill has the benefit of being a re-opened plant, able to pay new hires $15.78 an hour, or about half of the going CAW rate of $34 an hour. The Regal is a dud in the marketplace (selling a paltry 24,616 units in 2012), having been cannibalized by the Michigan-built Buick Verano, and it’s unclear if it will be replaced in Buick’s lineup at all, though Morgan Stanley’s Auto Product Guidebook, considered an authoritative source on GM’s future product, suggests a 2015 redesign. That leaves the Impala and the Cadillac XTS as the sole remaining product with any long-term viability at Oshawa, and even then, it’s feasible that GM could decide to shift production to Hamtramck, which likely has excess capacity due to its immense size and slow sales of both the Chevrolt Volt and Malibu.

Industry observers know that unused capacity costs auto makers a lot of money, and Oshawa is particularly vulnerable to this phenomenon as well. With its enormous size and the massive amounts of money poured into it by GM, under-utilization of the Oshawa plant would be an enormous financial drain on GM. In addition, higher labor costs in Canada and a (currently) unfavorable exchange rate would merely add to the pain. At that point, closing Oshawa would be something GM would have to consider – if it isn’t already on their minds. In this scenario, Hamtramck would get the remaining Impala/XTS production, allowing GM to boast of “bringing jobs home”, while production of the Theta vehicles would be largely unaffected, with CAMI and Spring Hill available to produce them. The Regal, which is built on the global Epsilon II platform, could also be shifted elsewhere, to GM’s Fairfax, Kansas plant or even Hamtramck.

Without the loan agreement and the Vitality Covenant being made public, it’s difficult to gauge the consequences of an Oshawa shutdown. The timing of the agreement and the CAW contract expiration dates suggests that the plant’s closure is a very real possibility. On the other hand, two factors stand in the way of such a theory. One is the enormous negative PR that GM would face if the Oshawa plant closed. Oshawa is the historic home of not just General Motors, but Canada’s auto manufacturing industry, stretching back over a century. While Canada is a small market, it’s entirely possible that sales of GM cars would suffer in the event of an Oshawa shutdown. Needless to say, the community itself would be negatively affected in a massive way.

Second is the currently rosy outlook for the U.S. and Canadian new car market. With a SAAR of 15.3 million units currently forecast for 2013, observers seem to be bullish on the medium-term prospects of new car sales, and GM is making a big push itself. The Impala and Theta crossovers are some of GM’s best sellers, with Theta selling over 316,000 units in 2012 combined and the Impala moving 169,351 units, despite a relatively antiquated design.

Of course, this is all predicated on increasing levels of sub-prime financing for vehicle sales in the United States, as well as and high prices for used cars, factors which many have chosen to omit from their own assessments. These are potential “wildcards” that could derail an auto industry rebound, and are made all the more prescient by news that Ally Financial, a government backed bank that was once GM’ finance arm, has failed a “stress test”. While Ally is GM’s lender of choice for GM’s customers with solid credit scores, GM’s own sub-prime lending arm, GM Financial, has also come under fire for its lending and auto loan securitization practices.

Despite the gloomy outlook, Oshawa does have one saving grace; the Flex Line is among the world’s most modern facilities for auto production, able to build practically any car or truck with minimal interruptions (hence its name). GM could conceivably decide to bring in new product to built at the plant to make up the shortfall, if it really wanted to. But so far, Oshawa’s future seems to hinge on the Impala, which is not a situation that inspires confidence.

** N.B:  GM committed $675 million over the four year term to “Canadian manufacturing”. Rather than specify Oshawa, it’s possible that the money could go to CAMI, their St. Catharines, Ontario engine plant, or their other facilities. Currently, GM and the CAW workers at CAMI are negotiating their contract, largely due to the possibility that GM would move Theta production to Mexico or Spring Hill. CAMI has always been treated as a separate entity from Oshawa, with lower wages and benefits (more in line with Spring Hill), and is a modern factory built in partnership with Suzuki. Workers at CAMI are said to be aiming for a “pattern agreement” similar to what Oshawa workers received, but the terms will be unknown until negotiations have wrapped up.

 

 

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CAW: Oshawa Needs New Product To Survive http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/caw-oshawa-needs-new-product-to-survive/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/caw-oshawa-needs-new-product-to-survive/#comments Thu, 20 Dec 2012 16:26:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=471236 GM’s announcement that it would move Camaro production out of Oshawa has left one of GM’s best plants in a lurch, and the CAW says that the plant’s very survival is at stake. Moving the Camaro to GM’s Lansing, Michigan plant makes sense; the Camaro is the sole rear-drive product built at Oshawa, while the […]

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GM’s announcement that it would move Camaro production out of Oshawa has left one of GM’s best plants in a lurch, and the CAW says that the plant’s very survival is at stake.

Moving the Camaro to GM’s Lansing, Michigan plant makes sense; the Camaro is the sole rear-drive product built at Oshawa, while the Cadillac CTS and ATS are not only built in Lansing, but expected to share a platform with the Camaro in the coming years. But that’s raised questions about what GM will do to keep Oshawa going. Speaking to The Globe and Mail, CAW President Ken Lewenza expressed concerns regarding a possible slow decline for the plant

“A fully utilized plant today is on three shifts,” he said. “If this 100,000 units drops it to two shifts – which I anticipate it does – without any replacement vehicles, then the next move is one shift and [then] gone.”

The Camaro move will not only affect Oshawa, but also GM’s engine plant in St. Catharines, Ontario and a Johnson Controls plant in nearby Whitby. Both plants are nearly entirely dependent on the Camaro and will likely have to close following its departure. Lewenza claimed that during this summer’s negotiations, GM gave no notice that they planned to move the Camaro out of Oshawa. Without it, Oshawa will be left with the Cadillac XTS Buick Regal and the Chevrolet Impala

Complicating matters is the Canadian government’s reluctance to sell their stake in GM. While officials have previously stated that they don’t plan to hang on to their shares for the long term, there’s still the pesky matter of Canada’s $13.7 billion bailout package to GM. As part of the agreement, 16 percent of GM’s production must come from Canada, but it looks like the continued production of the previous generation Impala should help satisfy the requirements until June, 2014. Beyond that, it’s anyone’s guess. GM recently invested $185 million into the facility, but the figure pales in comparison to the billions it has received from the Canadian government.

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Current-Generation Chevrolet Impala Gets A New Lease On Life – Will The Bench Seat Get One Too? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/current-generation-chevrolet-impala-gets-a-new-lease-on-life-will-the-bench-seat-get-one-too/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/current-generation-chevrolet-impala-gets-a-new-lease-on-life-will-the-bench-seat-get-one-too/#comments Thu, 20 Dec 2012 14:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=470757 Christmas has come early for our beloved commenters Zackman and Mikey – GM has confirmed that the current generation Chevrolet Impala will be produced until June, 2014, ostensibly for fleet duty and used car market fodder. The announcement was buried in a press release for the Camaro’s move to Michigan, with GM proudly stating that […]

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Christmas has come early for our beloved commenters Zackman and Mikey – GM has confirmed that the current generation Chevrolet Impala will be produced until June, 2014, ostensibly for fleet duty and used car market fodder.

The announcement was buried in a press release for the Camaro’s move to Michigan, with GM proudly stating that

The consolidated line at Oshawa Assembly will continue to produce the current generation Chevrolet Impala and Equinox until June 2014.

Chevrolet has a history of churning out previous bodystyles as fleet only specials; witness the Captiva Sport, aka the Saturn Vue, as well as numerous old bodystyle Malibus badged as the “Classic”. The big question here is, of course, how long will the bench seat remain in production. Does it die with the transition to fleet-only sales, or will it live on in Avis lots across the land?

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GM Moving Chevrolet Camaro Production From Oshawa To Lansing http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/gm-moving-chevrolet-camaro-production-from-oshawa-to-lansin/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/gm-moving-chevrolet-camaro-production-from-oshawa-to-lansin/#comments Wed, 19 Dec 2012 16:40:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=470712 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 […]

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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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CAW Strike At Key Parts Suppliers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/10/caw-strike-at-key-parts-suppliers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/10/caw-strike-at-key-parts-suppliers/#comments Mon, 29 Oct 2012 13:00:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=465217 The drama over a possible strike at the Big Three was averted this summer, but it ain’t over yet; roughly 75 employees walked off the job at two key suppliers this weekend. Westcast and Lear were affected by the job action. Automotive News, citing information from Westcast, reports that the exhaust manifold supplier has a […]

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The drama over a possible strike at the Big Three was averted this summer, but it ain’t over yet; roughly 75 employees walked off the job at two key suppliers this weekend.

Westcast and Lear were affected by the job action. Automotive News, citing information from Westcast, reports that the exhaust manifold supplier has a 65 percent market share among the Big Three, and a 51 percent market share overall. General Motors will take the brunt of the job action at Lear, as workers walked off the job at their seat plant near Toronto. The plant supplies seats for vehicles assembled at GM’s Oshawa plant.

A statement released by the union regarding Westcast said that

“In the last few days, we’ve learned that General Motors intends to move the current work performed at Wescast to a facility in China. There is absolutely no reason that our members should agree to a new contract that undercuts their own jobs.”

Westcast announced this summer that it had struck a deal to be bought by Sichuan Bohong Industry Co, but the deal has yet to be finalized.

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General Motors Adding Shifts At Ontario Plants http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/10/general-motors-adding-shifts-at-ontario-plants/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/10/general-motors-adding-shifts-at-ontario-plants/#comments Fri, 05 Oct 2012 17:08:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=462789 Good news for Canada’s manufacturing sector; GM has confirmed plans to add a third shift to the Oshawa Flex Line to help meet demand for the 2014 Chevrolet Impala. An article in the Windsor Star confirmed the move, as well as the retention of one shift at the Oshawa Consolidated Line, which gets a stay […]

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Good news for Canada’s manufacturing sector; GM has confirmed plans to add a third shift to the Oshawa Flex Line to help meet demand for the 2014 Chevrolet Impala.

An article in the Windsor Star confirmed the move, as well as the retention of one shift at the Oshawa Consolidated Line, which gets a stay of execution until June, 2014. GM’s St. Catharines, Ontario transmission plant, will also get a third shift to produce six-speed gearboxes.

Under their new agreement with the CAW, GM has promised to maintain the current level employment with its 7,000 CAW workers, and invest $675 million into their Canadian operations. The exact terms of the deal are a secret, but this is a promising start if nothing else.

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