GM to move new Camaro production to Michigan

Current version to remain in Oshawa until end of production run.

Comments Off December 19, 2012
by Canadian Press

Oshawa, Ont. – General Motors is moving production of the next version of its Camaro sports car from its Oshawa operation in Ontario to a plant in Michigan. In a statement, General Motors Canada said Wednesday that “lower capital investment and improved production efficiencies were key factors” in the move.

The current version of the Camaro is made at GM’s Oshawa flex plant, which employs some 2,000 people and also produces the Buick Regal and Cadillac XTS. The Canadian Auto Workers’ most recent contract with GM, which was ratified in September, guaranteed production of the Camaro in Oshawa only until the end of the current generation.

GM said the Camaro is the only rear-wheel drive vehicle assembled at Oshawa. Production of the new Camaro will be consolidated with the production of Cadillac CTS and ATS, also rear-wheel drive vehicles, in Michigan in a bid to improve efficiency.

The Canadian Auto Workers union, which represents workers at the plant, said the decision will cut production in Oshawa by as much as one third starting in late 2015 or early 2016, and called on the company to replace the production to protect the jobs at the plant.

“General Motors has once again shown a complete and utter disregard for its workers and also Canadians in general, whose tax dollars kept the company out of bankruptcy,” said CAW president Ken Lewenza. “This decision will cause yet another devastating shock to the Durham Region and the country’s auto industry.”

The union said the number of jobs that may be lost was not yet known, but added the move could also affect parts companies in the region. The move follows a decision by GM to invest $185 million in connection with the launch of new versions of the Cadillac XTS and Chevrolet Impala, that will be built in Oshawa.

The U.S. automaker also said it will add a third shift in connection with the new Impala. The consolidated line in Oshawa will continue to produce the current generation Chevrolet Impala and Equinox until June 2014.

GM said it will continue to meet production targets agreed to with the federal and Ontario governments in 2009. Ottawa and Ontario contributed $13.7 billion to help bail out North American automakers GM and Chrysler more than three years ago and combined own about nine per cent of GM’s common shares.

In its most recent deal with GM, the CAW agreed to a plan that would see new employees take longer to reach the top of the pay scale as well as receive a hybrid pension plan.

The deal will also commit GM to creating, maintaining or extending 1,750 jobs. That included 900 jobs through the addition of a third shift at the flex plant in Oshawa, Ont., 750 jobs in connection with the extension of the life of the consolidated plant in Oshawa and about 100 new positions created or maintained at a plant in St. Catharines, Ont.

The agreement also reversed concessions that allowed GM to use temporary workers indefinitely, and limits the use of those workers during the launch of a new vehicle.
© 2012 The Canadian Press