Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 10

OPINION

10

07.19

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Three years in, we're still Another economic-development
leader: Is the third time the charm?
scratching the surface
JEFF MELNYCHUK

|

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

IT'S THE THIRD ANNIVERSARY OF AUTOMOTIVE NEWS CANADA,
and the "Six months in" (a half-year in review) on Page 18 is a
reinforcement of why this publication exists. Take a look: It's a wallto-wall roller-coaster ride of sales, trade disputes, dealership selloffs, the collapsing car market, FCA's woes and the saga surrounding GM's Oshawa Assembly. And that's just off the top of my head.
It's funny how things turn out.
The first issue of "ANC," as we call it, was printed exactly three
years ago, in July of 2016. Nine months previous, all we really had
was an idea of what Automotive News Canada could be. We had
no writers and no editors. Not even a font picked for the headlines.
All we had was a conversation.
Jason Stein, publisher of Detroit-based
The question
Automotive News - considered the bible
of whether the
of the auto industry - is a fellow
Canadian. Thirty minutes was all it took to
Canadian auto
me on the idea of a new publication
industry is robust hook
devoted to the auto industry in Canada.
enough to write
I would be able to design it as I see fit
-
mostly - pick the right editors and
about is answered
writers, and develop the production proonce a month within cess. Even shape the framework of the
these pages.
website automotivenews.ca. It was a
terrific opportunity, although one big ugly
question mark loomed: What, exactly, would we write about?
Early on, I was repeatedly asked if the Canadian auto industry
had enough news going on to support a publication. I honestly had
no answer because there was no cohesive knowledge base on the
subject: No one had done it here before, at least to the extent we
were planning.
Certainly there were talented and connected business journalists
out there, but it's not like we had a Rolodex of their names. We
had to find them one by one, a task that largely fell to my very first
hire, longtime colleague Joe Knycha as news editor. Joe has since
moved on, but it's a task that continues, even three years later.
We found few actual business journalists plugged in to the various aspects of the industry, whether manufacturing, the supply
chain, automaker executives,
labour or dealer operations.
Finding good industry stories is
the job, here, after all, and as
we get more connected and
bring on more talent -
Managing Editor Grace
Macaluso for one - we get
better at finding those stories.
So, three years in, is there
enough industry news in
Canada? Easily. Page 18 is
a glimpse, and we're still
digging. - ANC
Page 1 of the first edition
of Automotive News
Canada three years ago
was just scratching
the surface of the
inner workings of the
Canadian auto industry.

EST. 1925.

PUBLISHED WEEKLY BY CRAIN COMMUNICATIONS, INC.
KEITH E. CRAIN, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
K.C. CRAIN, GROUP PUBLISHER
JASON STEIN, PUBLISHER

DAVE VERSICAL, CHIEF OF EDITORIAL OPERATIONS, AUTOMOTIVE NEWS GROUP

PUBLISHED MONTHLY BY CRAIN COMMUNICATIONS, INC.

NEWS DEPARTMENT

JEFF MELNYCHUK, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, 506.854.5024, JMelnychuk@autonews.com
GRACE MACALUSO, MANAGING EDITOR, 226.787.0441, gmacaluso@crain.com

CUSTOMER SERVICE

877.812.1257
Email: customerservicecanada@autonews.com

AD SALES

Karen Rentschler, 313.446.6031
Email: Krentschler@crain.com

A REVOLVING DOOR APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN
yanked just as he seemed to be hitting his stride,
installed at the Ontario Ministry of Economic
consulting with industry and subsequently announcDevelopment, Job Creation and Trade.
ing a plan to boost auto investment along with
Vic Fedeli became the third minister in about a
measures aimed at reducing red tape and other
year to take over the cabinet portfolio that is of crit- costs blunting the sector's competitive edge.
ical importance to the auto industry.
But it will fall to Fedeli to address one of the
The former treasurer landed in
industry's biggest complaints:
the post held by Todd Smith, not
soaring electricity rates.
out of choice but necessity for
"We made it very, very clear at
MANAGING EDITOR
Conservative Premier Doug Ford,
least over the last five years that
who saw a cabinet shuffle in June
electricity rates have to come
GRACE
as a remedy for jeering crowds
down, particularly for our industry,
MACALUSO
and plunging opinion polls.
which can't access some of the
Saddled with an unpopular proprograms" aimed at mitigating
vincial budget, Ford shifted Fedeli
costs for industrial users, said
COMMENT
to economic development from
Mark Nantais, president of the
finance, a move deemed by politiCanadian Vehicle Manufacturers
cal pundits as a demotion.
Association, which represents the Detroit Three.
While cabinet shuffles are a fact of political life,
"To that extent, they've heard us, and we anticithe high turnover rate in such a pivotal job is worripate having more discussome for a sector trying to remain viable as its
sions. And I will say, without
The struggling
manufacturing footprint continues to shrink.
being too presumptuous,
auto sector
The good news, say auto industry executives,
we're hopeful they'll come
who prefer to look on the bright
back to us with some proneeds consistent
side, is that Fedeli gained macro- posals."
leadership at
economic insight into the sector's
Global Automakers of
challenges from his previous role. Canada President David
Queen's Park.
"His perspective of having just Adams noted that econombeen treasurer probably is the
ic development "has always
most acceptable replacement if
been an important portfolio for securing foreign
you're going to lose your minisdirect investment, particularly in the 1980s when
Vic Fedeli
ter,"
said
Flavio
Volpe,
president
we secured the Honda and Toyota plants."
brings
While he thinks the current government "recog"big-picture" of the Automotive Parts
Manufacturers'
Association.
"We
nizes
the importance of the auto industry, consisperspective
need someone who's got big-pic- tency is always better than sort of a revolving door."
to economic
As General Motors proceeds with plans to end
development. ture understanding of the cost
structure in Ontario. The former
vehicle assembly at its Oshawa, Ont., plant this
F I L E P H O TO
finance minister probably has a
year, let's hope Fedeli lives up to industry expectabetter perspective than anybody else."
tions and sticks around at least until the next
Smith, in the job for only eight months, was
election. - ANC

Windsor needs a tribute to Iacocca
CHIEF TECUMSEH AND
General Isaac Brock, heroes of
the War of 1812, stand on
guard in Windsor's Olde
Sandwich Towne.
Hiram Walker is set to be
bronzed in a roundabout in the
Walkerville neighbourhood, the
area of the city in which the
whiskey baron built a spirits
empire.
So, I have to assume - perhaps demand - that automotive titan Lee Iacocca will get his
just reward somewhere around
the Windsor Assembly Plant.
I can picture it now, a
Iacocca's
replica of one
negotiations of my all-time
news
planted the favourite
photos;
seeds of the Iacocca,
Rose City's standing triin
auto industry. umphantly
front of one of
the first
Plymouth Voyagers to roll off the
line at Windsor Assembly and
behind a lectern adorned with
the iconic Pentastar logo. His
arms outstretched, like Jesus
speaking to his disciples.
It's the photo that most accurately depicts Iacocca for what
he was to Windsor, to Ontario, to
Canada: A saviour.
For it's to Iacocca that
Windsor still owes a debt of gratitude. It was Iacocca who saw
the need for a "garageable van"

DIGITAL AND
MOBILE EDITOR
AUTOMOTIVE
NEWS CANADA

GREG
LAYSON

COMMENT
and pushed his team at Chrysler,
from almost day one, to bring
the minivan to market.
While he didn't initially envision Windsor as the home of
production of the transcending
vehicle, it was his negotiations
with governments across North
America that eventually led the
automaker to begin production
of the Caravan and Voyager in
the Rose City. Ottawa, you see,
drove a hard bargain and
demanded Chrysler build the revolutionary new vehicle in Windsor
in exchange for loans that saved
the company from bankruptcy.
Iacocca agreed, and 35 years
later the plant is still churning
out the leading seller in a segment the automaker created out
of thin air.
Sure, the automaker closed
one of its two remaining Windsor
plants back in 2003. And yes, a
third shift has come and gone,
returned again and is now
poised to be cut one more time
at the minivan plant by October.
But even with that loss, about

4,800 people would still be
employed, building something
Iacocca first dreamed of nearly
four decades ago. Windsor
Assembly remains the city's biggest employer. And its unionized
members are some of the most
generous, community-minded
people in the city, raising money
for the United Way and donating
toys to Sparky's Toy Drive every
year.
Sure, the late Sergio
Marchionne might have saved
the plant with billions of dollars
in investment, and the former
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO
will always be Windsor's favourite
automotive son. But Marchionne
would have had nothing to save
if the original saviour hadn't
brought the minivan to Windsor
in the first place. - ANC

Decades after Lee Iacocca
helped create an entirely
new segment - the minivan
- Windsor Assembly
remains the city's biggest
employer. That has to be
worth a statue. P H O TO : F C A


http://www.automotivenews.ca

Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2

Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - Intro
Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 1
Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 2
Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 3
Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 4
Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 5
Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 6
Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 7
Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 8
Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 9
Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 10
Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 11
Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 12
Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 13
Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 14
Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 15
Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 16
Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 17
Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 18
Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 19
Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 20
Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 21
Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 22
Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 23
Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 24
Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 25
Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 26
Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 27
Automotive News Canada - July 2019 - v2 - 28
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