By on February 2, 2017

The enduring popularity of the Chevrolet Equinox has led General Motors to some creative manufacturing approaches to keep up with demand. In addition to the crossoverÕs assembly home in Ingersoll, Ontario, GM runs a shuttle system that takes Equinox bodies to Oshawa, Ont., for painting and final production, Image: General Motors Canada

There’s no hurt feelings like a city council’s hurt feelings.

Oshawa, Ontario, home to TTAC’s managing editor and General Motors Canada headquarters, is feeling a little invisible after an invite delivered last June to GM CEO Mary Barra failed to result in a visit.

The invite came at the onset of tense Detroit Three labor contract negotiations, when it seemed like Oshawa’s assembly plant was living on very borrowed time. Ultimately, the plant was granted a reprieve, though the city remains nervous about the long-term viability of the plant and GM’s commitment to it.

After seven months of being the wallflower at the dance, city councilors want some up close and personal face time.

While GM pledged new investment in its Canadian workforce, including 700 new technical jobs scattered across several testing and development sites, Oshawa remains in the business of building cars and trucks.

Models like the Chevrolet Impala and Camaro have bled away, and the Buick Regal will soon have a German home. The automaker’s crossover plant in Ingersoll, Ontario can now handle its full complement of Chevrolet Equinox, meaning Oshawa isn’t needed for final assembly. That leaves the Cadillac XTS and a stopgap deal that will swap Equinox final assembly with that of an unspecified pickup truck.

While new product is promised, GM hasn’t announced what savior appear, or when. Oshawa would like the opportunity to find out, and perhaps perform some public relations with the GM head.

According to Oshawa This Week, mayor John Henry reissued the invite in January. Barra responded by saying she would consider it a trip if her schedule allows it. To once councilor, the response and lack of appearance over the past seven months amounts to a snub.

Nancy Diamond said Barra’s letter reads like “thanks very much, but I’m not really interested.”

“If we don’t stand up for these workers, I don’t think anybody else will and Mary Barra’s answer is inadequate,” she said on January 30th.

The Renaissance Center in Detroit is just under five hours away from Oshawa by car, and the city contains an executive airport. Of course, there’s no denying that Barra’s schedule must be among the most packed in the nation, with no shortage of new considerations brought on by the election.

City council, doing what city councils do, ultimately passed a motion to express the city’s disappointment in a letter to GM.

[Image: General Motors]

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11 Comments on “Oshawa Miffed After Apparent Snub by GM’s Mary Barra...”


  • avatar
    mikey

    It’s Mary’s loss , I’m sure Mark Agrees . The Shwa is a cultural icon.

  • avatar
    VoGo

    The things people decide to get offended over…

  • avatar
    mikey

    Oh yeah, back in the day GM and Oshawa were joined at the hip. Over 30,000 hourly ,and salary. The GM corporate jets were a common sight. Everybody had some sort of connection to GM. We were “Motor city” of the north.

    Sadly those days are long gone. GM is a shadow of its former self. Today the Shwa survives, and to some degree prospers. Our bacon was saved, only because of our proximity to Toronto. On the big picture GM Oshawa is pretty insignificant.

    Some of our local politicos (can you say “term limits” ) refuse to let the old days die. I don’t think Ms Barra will lose any sleep over some washed up local councillors perceived snub.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      mikey, I think the whole world has been turned upside down since……Trump. Not just the US auto industry. I’m talking about international relationships and trade agreements, too.

      And while Trump may be a boost to Canada’s oil and mining industry because of Keystone and Dakota, he may also insist that American firms in Canada bring jobs back to America. Among them GM, first and foremost!

      The people who voted for him are flabbergasted at the speed Trump is trying to keep his promises, checking things off left and right, meeting daily with movers and shakers to get things done for America. Today it was Harley-Davidson at the White House and the effort to increase HD exports.

      My guess is Ms Barra is losing a lot of sleep over how to keep things rolling smoothly at GM.

      No one saw Trump coming. No one was prepared for the upheaval that is yet to come.

  • avatar
    GeneralMalaise

    They are too busy having hissy fits and just losing their sh1t in general, HDC.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      GeneralMalaise, do doubt you’re right but I have never seen it like this. A lot of insecurity about what the future will bring, and the rearrangement of auto production in the US is just one issue. Oil & gas production and trade another.

      One thing for sure though, no matter which side of the political fence Americans are on; Hope and Change rule the day, the week, the month, for the next two years.

      Hope for all those people who felt left behind and forgotten by the last administration.

      And Change for all the trade-relationships that existed prior to Trump.

      For the first time in decades I feel engaged, waiting for the next big shoe to drop.

      Exciting times, but maybe not for others on the loosing end.

  • avatar
    jefmad

    Call me crazy, but when you want something from somebody, don’t you usually go to them? Only governments need something from some organization and insist that the entity come to them. It’s funny that they don’t see the arrogance.
    But at least they sent a letter to proclaim their disappointment.

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