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GM in Oshawa to lose Camaro production


Frank Gunn/THE CANADIAN PRESS A worker checks the paint on a Camaro at the GM factory in Oshawa, Ont. General Motors says it will move production of the Camaro from Oshawa to Lansing, Mich.

The next generation Chevrolet Camaro will be built in Lansing, Mich., instead of Oshawa, GM Canada announced Wednesday.

The timing and impact on jobs were not immediately available, the company said.

“At this stage, there’s no immediate impact on employment. In the longer term, we really can’t speculate at this time,” GM Canada spokesperson Faye Roberts said in a conference call with reporters.

The timing will depend on when the product life cycle of the current generation Camaro comes to an end. “We haven’t said a specific time,” Roberts said.

The Canadian Auto Workers union reacted with anger and frustration at the news, saying it will cut production by one-third to one-quarter in late 2015, early 2016.

“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.

The move could also affect a number of auto parts companies, the union warned.

“This decision will cause yet another devastating shock to the Durham region and the country’s auto industry,” said Lewenza.

Lewenza called the announcement and its timing both “callous and poorly thought-out.”

“The timing of this announcement couldn’t possibly be any worse,” said CAW Local 222 President Chris Buckley. “Our members are now going into the holiday season wondering what will happen to them and if they’ll have jobs in the future. General Motors must now explain to our members and Canadian taxpayers why they are pulling more production out of the country.”

The flexible line, where the Camaro is made, employs about 2,000 people.

The plant will continue to produce the Buick Regal, the company said. GM recently invested $ 185 million to support the launch of two new products on the flex line: the all-new Cadillac XTS and the next-generation Chevrolet Impala.

GM previously announced it will add a third shift to support the new Impala, which is scheduled to launch early in 2013. The shift is expected to create 900 jobs.

GM also said the consolidated line, which produces the current generation Chevrolet Impala and Equinox, would continue until June 2014, as previously announced.

The decision to locate production of the next generation Camaro in Lansing will result in lower capital investment and improved production efficiencies for the company, GM said.

The Camaro is the only rear-wheel drive vehicle built at Oshawa.

Although the flexible line in Oshawa can accommodate both front and rear wheel drive assembly, the move will consolidate rear wheel production in Lansing, where the Cadillac CTS and ATS are also made, the company said.

Oshawa employees were to be informed at noon.

The decision does not adversely affect the production commitments GM Canada made to the governments of Canada and Ontario when it accepted a bailout package in 2009, the company said.

GM committed to producing 16 per cent of all vehicles for the North American market in Canada, the company said. – Business