By on April 1, 2019

Image: GM

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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29 Comments on “Border Hopper Unceremoniously Removed from Comerica Park...”

  • avatar

    They probably didn’t want the thing pelted by baseballs…on Opening Day.

  • avatar

    I’ve been boycotting Mexican-build cars by any manufacturer. If car is sold in America, it is better be built in America or in its OEM country. I don’t think its fair that they slaving Mexicans but sell us car like if its built in Germany

    • 0 avatar

      Do you vet the German assembly line workers, too? Making sure they’re full-blooded Germans? Hint: They’re more likely to be Turkish than German. Who cares where something was made, as long as it is well-made.

      • 0 avatar

        Well, ok. This is not exactly reason. Reason is that manufacturers trying to please shareholders and build factory in country with cheap labor. The consumer gets nothing out of this setup besides that some uneducated person builds it. At least in Europe everyone has 10 years of education. In Latin America we often see people have 2-5 years of education.
        I am well aware that factory workers in Europe can be Turks or even Africans. But they are not Turkey Turks. They are legal in EU, and Turkey is not member. You saying as if they were some illegal immigrants, no. They could be Poles, Croatians, but they are EU people.
        To reiterate, again, my reasons – company policies, uneducated workforce.

        • 0 avatar

          It is more like an uneducated comment. As you seem to know nothing about Mexico or it’s workers. Cars built in Mexico by Mexicans are just as high quality as cars build in America by
          Americans. Fourteen years ago I bought a Chrysler that was made in Mexico. I drove it for ten years and had very few problems with the car. I then gave it to my son who then gave it to his daughter. She is still driving it with very few problems. Certainly with no more problems than any American built vehicle. By the way, you are wrong about workers being uneducated. There are some uneducated Mexicans but they do not wind up with auto plant jobs. They wind up doing manual labor jobs that Americans will not do at any price. Uneducated Americans seem to need to have someone to look down on. But they should not look down on Mexican laborers as without Mexican labor American crops would not get picked. American roofs would not be repaired or replaced in the heat of the summer. Much would not get done in the US because Americans are too lazy to take manual labor jobs and do them to the best of their abilities.

          • 0 avatar

            “without Mexican labor American crops would not get picked”, “Much would not get done in the US because Americans are too lazy”

            See, you just answered your own comments. so, what do you do? – let the lazy starve. Let them die. If you don’t feed them, they either going to farm for food or just die. Both are fine with me.

            “I bought a Chrysler that was made in Mexico. I drove it for ten years and had very few problems with the car.”

            Tell this to Scotty Kilmer. I can see his smiling horses already. You can brag all you want, without a year/model/mileage… will I believe – no sir.

            Yea, I would rather have Japanese worker to build my car than Mexican. In fact, I was shopping for Jeep GC and one thing I didn’t like is assembly quality, fitting of the panels. If they can’t fit panels, I don’t want to even imagine how they calibrate tools.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            @Charlie: or perhaps American business owners are too hypocritical to adhere to their supposed free market principles? Wages are supposed to be based on market pricing. Instead of raising their wages, too many American business people instead hire cheap ‘illegal’ labour.

            Rather than building a wall, jail all those who employ illegal labour. When the jobs dry up, then so will the influx of labourers. And wage rates will be ‘normalized’ by the market.

            Just this week watched a 70 year old movie, called Border Incident that chronicled much of this same problem.

          • 0 avatar

            why would it be uneducated?? it’s how he feels. i am of the same mindset. why should jobs be given to other countries and not on our home for a company that made its bones in America and is considered a “domestic car manufacturer” i have no problems with Mexicans per se, but we need our jobs here and if you are going to say you are GM then your cars should be built here in your origin country. I have lost lots and lots of faith with GM, they no longer represent what they used to. I have finaly seen the light in regards to cheap interiors and the worst of the worst……….The ruining of Cadillac.

          • 0 avatar

            So, Deville, the computer you used to type that rant was made here in the United States, right?

            Look, I love the idea of keeping jobs in the U.S. But the reality is that if we did that, either a) prices would go up, or b) company profits would go down. In all likelihood, both of these would happen, and let’s not pretend that there wouldn’t be economic consequences that no one’s talking about here.

            Keeping jobs here is a great thing, but the simplistic approach to it that we’re seeing here proves problematic.

      • 0 avatar

        Turkish workers receiving German pay, benefits, worker safety, and environmental compliance.

        I’d be fine with a Mexican made German car if every aspect of the production was done in conformity to German labor and environmental standards.

        But that would eliminate the reason to produce in Mexico.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    “The Blazer generates more than half a billion dollars into the U.S. manufacturing economy each year…”

    How long has it been production?

  • avatar

    It was pretty tone deaf to put it there in the first place. Slavuta, I have a question based on the GM statement, if the blazer was made in the US but only 20% of the parts were made in the USA would you buy it? I doubt VW is slaving their Mexican workers BTW. Just wondering how you draw the line with what you boycott, not being a AS% just wondering. Do you boycott Canada as well?

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, what % needs to U.S.? Or U.S. assembled only?

    • 0 avatar

      No, I don’t boycott Canada. Read this, and you will understand that all is not so sweet in mexico

      When I boycott Mexican, I mostly boycott auto manufacturer. Not Mexico. I go there all the time.

  • avatar

    Sort of like when GM hired a fire eater to promote their trucks at a major auto show after the faux expose by Dateline on the saddle style gas tank explosions.

    Only thing worse would have been to display a freshly minted Cruze.

  • avatar

    Good points all.

    But I smell BS here. The Canada made and HENCHO made Equinox are around 50% US and Canada content if memory serves.

    I find it BS the HENCHO made Blazer would have 80% US /Canada content.

    Point 2- I agree. Boycott HENCHO Made cars. Buy US & Canada made one but they must have 2/3 US/Canada content minimum.

  • avatar

    “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.”

    Really? How many have they built? He makes it sound like it’s been around for awhile. I think he’s gotten it confused with real Blazers, like the K/5 Blazer.

    • 0 avatar

      Probably based on estimated sales of the vehicle. With the pinched off front styling, a standard non-turbo 4 and fairly high MSRP, I think they may be a little too optimistic about its success.

  • avatar

    The UAW is a cancer.

  • avatar

    There needs to be more GM public shaming. GM did the math and it’s totally worth it, despite any potential negative blowback, so they asked for it.

    GM is guessing most buyers don’t care, or wrongly assume it’s made in the US or Canada.

    Yes “final assembly” doesn’t tell the whole story, but it’s about what it represents.

    GM claims about half the Blazer’s parts are sourced from the US and Canada, but obviously the other half come from Mexico and China sweatshops.

  • avatar

    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.

    • 0 avatar

      While you can read this

      what optimistic America of your youth are you talking about? Prohibition, segregation, great depression, nuclear holocaust?? hahaha

  • avatar

    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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