We started our coverage of GM’s Eighties and Nineties branding adventures last week, with the short-lived experiment that was Passport. The dealership network was an amalgamation of GM-owned or influenced brands from Japan, Sweden, and in the case of the Passport Optima, South Korea. Passport lasted from 1987 through 1991 before GM changed directions. In addition to axing an unsuccessful sales channel, Geo and Saturn cars had arrived during Passport’s tenure and made things more complicated. Let’s learn some more about GM’s Canadian dealership networks.
In the Eighties and Nineties, General Motors of Canada decided to try new distribution strategies for its imported cars. Like in the recent Dodge Colt series, General Motors had its own captive import cars and trucks that were manufactured by other brands. But because of dealership arrangements in Canada, GM took things a step further than Chrysler and established a separate distribution network for its imported wares. The efforts lead to the thrilling Passport and Asüna brands for the Canadian market. First up, Passport.
After a long-fought public relations campaign by General Motors Canada and Unifor, and a collective agreement that sees Unifor-GM temporary workers converted to full-time employment, Oshawa Assembly is on the up as pickup truck final assembly will run alongside Cadillac XTS production in the future.
However, that truck production can’t sustain Oshawa Assembly in the long-term, and sources within the company are saying more product is on the way for the beleaguered plant.
According to two General Motors representatives, one on each side of the border, Oshawa will produce vehicles in addition to the still unannounced pickup final assembly and Cadillac XTS.
General Motors may have committed to its Oshawa assembly facilities, but it’s a different story for the city’s main arena.
General Motors Centre, a 10-year-old facility in Oshawa, will see its name change after another company secured naming rights.
According to DurhamRegion.com, the arena will be renamed Tribute Communities Centre on November 1st.
General Motors’ 2016 Chevrolet Spark LS does not have power locks.
Correction: as shown in the high-production-quality video embedded below, the 2016 Chevrolet Spark LS has a mysterious power lock, singular.
For an advertised Canadian base price of $9,995, or $11,595 with destination charges, the 2016 Chevrolet Spark is at once both very well equipped and decidedly spartan. This is not the Ford Festiva you inherited from your ex-girlfriend’s uncle. “The bumper and hood are no good,” he told you, having recently run into a deer. “But she runs pretty good.”
No, in the base 2016 Spark, there’s a backup camera, for example, and antilock brakes, a bundle of air bags, decent seats, Bluetooth, and WiFi availability.
There’s also a bit of magic.
He won the lottery and died the next day” – Alanis Morissette
General Motors’ Buick Verano didn’t make it to 98, but after turning the grand-old age of 5, the entry-level Buick sedan will join a congregation of defunct Buicks in Detroit’s vehicular graveyard. It would seem easy enough for the second-generation Verano to make its way over from China, where Buick is GM’s darling brand. In the interests of products that GM believes will produce higher U.S. volumes with superior margins, namely E-badged crossovers, the Verano’s North American days are over.
It’s not too difficult to understand why. In the United States, Buick reported 45,527 Verano sales in the model’s second full year, 2013. Just two years later, Verano volume in 2015 was down 30 percent from that peak. Buick is on track in 2016 to sell fewer than 27,000 Veranos in America. Sales of Buick’s more popular entry-level model, the Encore subcompact crossover, are up 21 percent this year. Already in 2016, through only five months, Buick has sold 30,330 Encores in the United States.
Yet north of the border, the Verano’s demise is indeed ironic. Just days before Automotive News revealed that GM would end the Verano’s North American run with an abbreviated 2017 model year, GM Canada revealed that Verano sales had risen to an all-time high in April.
Jerry Dias, president of Unifor, the union that represents workers at Detroit Three operations in Canada, has stated in no uncertain terms there will be a strike if Oshawa is not given a mandate to produce vehicles beyond 2017, reports the Financial Post.
The latest barb comes before a scheduled press conference this Friday when General Motors Canada is expected to announce 1,000 engineering jobs for the company’s connected and driverless vehicle research and development.
Yesterday, General Motors issued a release stating it will announce big news in Oshawa on Friday. According to The Star, that announcement will include 1,000 new jobs at GM’s engineering center, which now focuses on driverless and connected vehicles.
However, the announcement comes as uncertainty swirls around GM’s Oshawa Car Assembly Plant, a facility that many analysts believe is slated for closure.
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