By on December 21, 2017

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 #2.”

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 #2.” 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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5 Comments on “Will They or Won’t They? Questions Remain About Silverado/Sierra Production in Oshawa...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Couldn’t it also be read as “Oshwa will build current gen trucks as long as there is consumer demand (which can stretch into the 2019 MY).”

    It sounds like GM is hedging its bets. “We’ll build the Silverado Legacy and Sierra Limited but if nobody buys them, we’ll stop.”

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    Seems pretty clever to me.

    There are always some people who prefer the “old” truck (or car) to the new one.

    Trucks are profitable. And in demand.

    GM is spending $310 million (per article) to retrofit plant to build trucks. If they build ONLY 100,000 trucks (and that seems VERY LOW), they are spending $3,100 per truck. Trucks supposedly generate $5-10k in profit per truck.

    They are about to turn an underutilized plant into a money maker.

  • avatar
    mikey

    As a retired GM Oshawa employee, I have mixed feelings with this “new” truck plant. I’m just struggling to get my head around the logistics.

    As I understand it, Oshawa will not be doing any stamping, or “body in white” operations. Strange, because Oshawa does have an under used, contiguous, stamping plant ? Shunting, cab, box ,and front end sheet metal 7 hours ? To say nothing of border delays ?? I guess it make sense to someone more educated than I.

    I do know that renovations are taking longer than originally planned…I know that GM has revised the ramp chart. I also know, the Tradesmen are working right through Christmas to catch up.

    How this is all going to shake out is anybody’s guess.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    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?

  • avatar
    FreedMike

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

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