GM Canada pledges $850 million for R&D
By Canadian PressGeneral Automotive GM Oshawa research and development
Investment at Canadian Engineering Centre in Oshawa to enhance partnerships with Canadian universities, suppliers.
Oshawa, Ont. — GM Canada says it will invest $850 million in Canadian research and development at its complex in Oshawa, Ont., as part of its obligations under the 2009 bailout.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who attended the announcement, says the money represents “exciting future implications” with ripple effects that will be felt “far and wide.”
The federal and Ontario governments invested a total of $10.5 billion in GM Canada in 2009 as the automaker struggled to survive the economic downturn.
“We did what was necessary to support and stabilize Canada’s economy,” Harper said Tuesday. “This is a good story. Hardworking people, the company and government worked together to solve an enormous problem and now here we are today, looking forward with hope.”
The investment, which GM said will be made between 2009 to 2016, is aimed at meeting R&D spending commitments GM made under the bailout.
“Today’s announcement honours that promise and it demonstrates the company’s long-term commitment to value-added manufacturing in our country,” Harper said. “Over the years GM’s massive knowledge investment will permeate Canadian centres of learning and industry. The ripple effects will be felt far and wide.”
Harper, federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty were among the politicians attending the event.
Flaherty said the investment “will continue to build on our advantages and help strengthen Canada’s automotive sector to remain competitive on the world stage.”
GM says the investment in R&D at the Canadian Engineering Centre will make the facility an integral part of its global engineering and R&D networks.
The money will also go toward enhancing partnerships with automotive suppliers, including “new co-development projects and greater opportunities for start-ups to access funding through GM Ventures.”
GM said it would also focus on further developing technology relationships with Canadian universities, institutes, suppliers and manufacturers.
The Oshawa plant builds many GM models — from the Impala and Camaro to the Chevrolet Equinox and Buick Regal — and employs more than 4,500 people.
Last August, the company announced a $117 million investment at the assembly plant to prepare it to build the new Cadillac XTS.
The Oshawa assembly plant has had major changes in the last two years, with new vehicle models and expanded production that has added two new shifts and 1,300 jobs.
In Canada, the company shut down a truck plant in Oshawa and a transmission plant in Windsor, Ont., and cut its workforce. Since the restructuring, GM has eliminated all but four of its brands and has transformed itself into a much leaner, more profitable company.
GM Canada employs about 10,000 people at its Ontario-based operations. The company operates assembly plants in Oshawa and Ingersoll and parts plants in St. Catharines.
© 2012 The Canadian Press