Border Hopper Unceremoniously Removed From Comerica Park

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
border hopper unceremoniously removed from comerica park

You can see Canada from the top of Detroit’s Comerica Park, but the warm, low-labor-cost lands south of the Rio Grande lie far below the horizon. It’s not surprising that, as workers at a General Motors plant sitting just 3.5 miles from Comerica prepare for possible closure and job loss, GM’s decision to prominently feature a new Mexican-built vehicle at the stadium ruffled feathers on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border.

On Saturday, the controversial newcomer was quietly whisked away.

According to the Detroit Free Press, the bright red Chevrolet Blazer RS that GM hauled up to the stadium’s centerfield platform — the Chevrolet Fountain — on March 26th lasted only four days on its lofty perch. The two-row crossover disappeared on March 30th, replaced by a Lansing-built Chevrolet Traverse that bleeds red, white, and blue motor oil.

Given the outcry over GM’s decision to cease production at five North American plants, the high-profile model’s presence at Comerica Park was deemed a threat to relations with both the public and the United Auto Workers. Across the Detroit River, Canada’s autoworkers union, Unifor, has called for a boycott of all Mexican-made GM vehicles. Top of mind is the Blazer, built at GM’s Ramos Arizpe facility. Unifor President Jerry Dias says he’d have like to see that model built in Oshawa. Lordstown Assembly workers in Ohio would have liked to see it, too.

“It’s very distasteful for people,” one Detroit-based, UAW-affiliated GM worker told Freep. “We’ve done outings to Tigers games. I don’t know if that’ll change or not based on the product sitting on the marque. We have a lot of pride.”

Baseball season is already underway, with MLB Opening Day coming on March 28th. While GM initially backed up its decision to feature the Blazer, telling Freep (via spokesman Jim Cain), “American workers contribute more to the Chevy Blazer than anyone else,” the automaker clearly had second thoughts in the days following.

In a statement, Cain laid out the company’s new reasoning.

“We want people to enjoy baseball without distractions, so we are going to replace the Chevrolet Blazer with a Chevrolet Traverse at the Comerica Fountain,” he said. “American workers contribute significantly to the success of the Chevrolet Blazer. The Blazer generates more than half a billion dollars into the U.S. manufacturing economy each year, helping support thousands of good-paying U.S. jobs.”

Cain added that only 20 percent of the parts used in the Blazer originate in Mexico, with the model’s engines arriving from plants in New York and Michigan. “We have 168 U.S. suppliers, 70 of which are in Michigan. The total amount we purchase from those suppliers is $500 million for the Blazer,” he said.

[Image: General Motors]

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  • Charliej Charliej on Apr 02, 2019

    Slavuta, you are what we call wilfully ignorant. That is you are happy with your prejudices and your ignorance and you don't want to make the effort to learn anything new. Unfortunately there are many like you in the US today. The optimistic America of my youth is long gone. Replaced by a fearful America that no longer leads the world. And you are a perfect symbol of the new diminished America. The Americans who are not afraid and are not afraid of learning will thrive. Those of you who are afraid because they never learned that you must learn something new each day will continue to be afraid and continue to be diminished each day.

  • 80Cadillac 80Cadillac on Apr 03, 2019

    Ironically, GM and Ford are the original global car makers - since the 1920's. Who are the people so insulted by a GM made in Mexico? (Trump idiots who have no understanding of macroeconomics or trade?) Maybe the same people who disliked the idea of "captive imports", such as the Japanese Chevy Sprint, the Korean Pontiac LeMans or Ford Festiva, thirty years ago? GM, Nissan, and Volkswagen are powerhouse manufacturers in Mexico, and Mexico's fortunes have risen as part of the unified North American market. I'm rather amazed when I see the diverse content numbers on a window sticker. Who would want to disrupt and weaken the North American or European trade blocs? Let's just say that I would not buy a LADA.

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