Will They or Won't They? Questions Remain About Silverado/Sierra Production in Oshawa

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
will they or won t they questions remain about silverado sierra production in oshawa

General Motors is spending billions to upgrade certain factories, prepping them to build the next-generation Silverado and Sierra. As part of a four-year contract agreed to in September 2016, $310 million was invested in Oshawa’s so-called consolidated line so that it could handle truck production.

Now, Automotive News is reporting that while the Canadian plant may indeed be building trucks, it won’t be the snazzy new ones set to hit dealer lots for the 2019 model year. Instead, Oshawa will simply paint and perform final assembly of the outgoing 2018 trucks.

“Oshawa will be building current model pickups that helps us meet customer demand while we are in transition to next-generation pickups,” GM Canada spokeswoman Jennifer Wright told Automotive News Canada. “This strategy will help us meet customer demand as we transition our production and introduce our exciting new models into the market starting later in 2018. The length of the program in Oshawa will be dependent on market demand.”

Oh dear. If one were to be particularly unkind, they might suggest that GM played the old switcheroo on Oshawa, promising trucks but not specifying which exact ones. The statement saying the timeframe for Oshawa truck production is dependent on demand for the old model should sound several alarm bells and klaxons for anyone with an active interest in that plant’s production of vehicles.

This is particularly perplexing news, given GM documentation dated just last week seemed to indicate that the next-generation Silverado and Sierra were slated to be built in the Great White North. The 2019 Silverado pickups are listed as having a “Region of Build” in both the United States and Canada. Looking more closely, the document reveals this information pertains to the 2500 and 3500 Heavy Duty series of trucks. It also coughs up details about specific plant locations: Flint and Fort Wayne are listed in addition to the Canadian facility of “Oshawa

Those lame-duck 1500 series trucks, now known as the Silverado Legacy and Sierra Limited, have only a single country – Canada – listed under its Region of Build. The plant location is specified as “Oshawa In a telling find, high-zoot trims (Chevy’s High Country & GMC’s SLT and Denali) have vanished from the old-style pickups. The magnificent 6.2-liter V8 is gone, too.

A quick reminder: for vehicle built on North American soil, a VIN starting with 1, 4, or 5 denote an American assembled vehicle. The digit 2 is reserved for machines rolling out of Canadian plants, and a 3 means the rig was Hecho en Mexico.

GM’s VIN Standard document is full of little tidbits, including a reminder that the Cadillac CT6 includes China’s Jinqiao East plant in its Region of Build in addition to the United States facility of Detroit Hamtramck.

The entire filing, all 54 pages of it, can be found here.

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2 of 5 comments
  • Arthur Dailey Arthur Dailey on Dec 22, 2017

    I agree this is truly troubling and it looks like GM is 'hedging their bets'. With the relief GM obtained via bankruptcy regarding its American retirees' costs, not having to provide medical care for their Canadian workers/retirees (due to universal medical care) is no longer the same massive cost savings. And nobody knows which way NAFTA will go or what might replace it. So $310 million is small potatoes when they can crank out a bunch of legacy vehicles for a couple of years. After that what happens in Oshawa is anyone's guess?

  • FreedMike FreedMike on Dec 22, 2017

    Am I wrong, or did I *NOT* see any Silverados or Sierras being made in Mexico on that document?

  • Jim Bonham Thanks.
  • Luke42 I just bought a 3-row Tesla Model Y.If Toyota made a similar vehicle, I would have bought that instead. I'm former Prius owner, and would have bought a Prius-like EV if it were available.Toyota hasn't tried to compete with the Model Y. GM made the Bolt EUV, and Ford made the Mach-E. Tesla beat them all fair and square, but Toyota didn't even try.[Shrug]
  • RHD Toyota is trying to hedge their bets, and have something for everyone. They also may be farther behind in developing electric vehicles than they care to admit. Japanese corporations sometimes come up with cutting-edge products, such as the Sony Walkman. Large corporations (and not just Japanese corporations) tend to be like GM, though - too many voices just don't get heard, to the long-term detriment of the entity.
  • Randy in rocklin The Japanese can be so smart and yet so dumb. I'm America-Japanese and they really can be dumb sometimes like their masking paranoia.
  • Bunkie The Flying Flea has a fascinating story and served, inadvertently, to broaden the understanding of aircraft design. The crash described in the article is only part of the tale.