Automotive News Canada - June 2018 - v2 - 18

18

* JUNE 2018

ALTHOUGH NO NEW PRODUCTS ARE SLATED FOR THE
ASSEMBLY PLANT, A RECENT $500M INVESTMENT LIKELY
ENSURES THAT SOMETHING WILL BE BUILT THERE

A CLOUD OVER

OSHAWA
By JOHN IRWIN
TORONTO BUREAU

TORONTO - THE FUTURE
of the birthplace of Canadian
automotive manufacturing
could tell the industry much
about its fate.
General Motors' Oshawa,
Ont., assembly plant, one
of the most storied plants
in Canada, is coming off a
$500-million investment that
allows it to build light trucks
on one of its lines, making
it the only plant in North
America that builds both cars
and trucks.
That investment gave the
plant a new lease on life, less
than two years after its closure
seemed imminent in the leadup to labour talks in 2016.
Still, the plant faces a host
of challenges in the long term,
much like the rest of Canadian
automotive manufacturing. For instance, it remains
unclear what product will be
built on the new light-truck
line once overflow produc-

tion of the Chevrolet Silverado
and GMC Sierra stops. And in
the era of free trade and global supply chains, Oshawa,
like other Canadian plants,
stands at a disadvantage when
it comes to labour, electricity
and other costs.
A cutback in car production
in Oshawa will result in fewer
new hires than originally

planned, a Unifor official said.
GM said in February that
it would continue its one-shift
operation at Oshawa until
May 28, due to sharply lower
car sales in North America. In
early June, GM said the second shift was "ramping up
now." Colin James, president
of Unifor Local 222, which represents workers in Oshawa,

It's unclear what will be built on Oshawa's new
light-truck line when overflow production of
the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra stops.
PHOTOS: GM

The Oshawa plant builds
the Chevrolet Impala and
Cadillac XTS on its flex line.
PHOTOS: GM

said the second shift was
scheduled to start June 18.
The plant builds the
Chevrolet Impala and Cadillac
XTS on its flex line. About 600
workers are on layoff while
the plant is on one shift.
Longer term, as Canada,
the United States and Mexico
grapple with the future of free
trade and as GM adjusts its
product portfolio to shifting
consumer taste and plateauing North American sales, the
future of the Oshawa plant
should come into focus in the
coming year. In the meantime,
though, observers are in waitand-see mode on Oshawa.
"Oshawa is, among all

the existing assembly operations in Canada, in the biggest trouble long-term," Tony
Faria, co-director of the Office
of Automotive and Vehicle
Research at the University of
Windsor, said.

STORIED PAST
Oshawa, a city about 60
kilometres east of Toronto that
rests along the Lake Ontario
shoreline, has one of the most
storied automotive histories of
any city in the world.
Its manufacturing history can be traced back to 1907
when Robert McLaughlin
began building vehicles based
on Buicks sold in the United
States. The McLaughlin business would be bought by
General Motors Corp. in 1918
and merged with Chevrolet
Motor Car Co. of Canada to
form GM of Canada.
It almost never came to
pass. McLaughlin moved his
carriage company to Oshawa
in 1876, but his plant there
burned in 1899. The business
was nearly destroyed with
the fire, until the city lent
McLaughlin $50,000 to rebuild.
"What that investment did
for that company was literally
help build General Motors in
Canada," Oshawa Mayor John
Henry said.
Auto manufacturing has
been at the heart of the local



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Automotive News Canada - June 2018 - v2

Automotive News Canada - June 2018 - v2 - Intro
Automotive News Canada - June 2018 - v2 - 1
Automotive News Canada - June 2018 - v2 - 2
Automotive News Canada - June 2018 - v2 - 3
Automotive News Canada - June 2018 - v2 - 4
Automotive News Canada - June 2018 - v2 - 5
Automotive News Canada - June 2018 - v2 - 6
Automotive News Canada - June 2018 - v2 - 7
Automotive News Canada - June 2018 - v2 - 8
Automotive News Canada - June 2018 - v2 - 9
Automotive News Canada - June 2018 - v2 - 10
Automotive News Canada - June 2018 - v2 - 11
Automotive News Canada - June 2018 - v2 - 12
Automotive News Canada - June 2018 - v2 - 13
Automotive News Canada - June 2018 - v2 - 14
Automotive News Canada - June 2018 - v2 - 15
Automotive News Canada - June 2018 - v2 - 16
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Automotive News Canada - June 2018 - v2 - 18
Automotive News Canada - June 2018 - v2 - 19
Automotive News Canada - June 2018 - v2 - 20
Automotive News Canada - June 2018 - v2 - 21
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Automotive News Canada - June 2018 - v2 - 32
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