By Graeme McNaughton/The Oshawa Express
Cars will continue to roll off the line at the Oshawa Assembly until at least 2017.
That is thanks to a $12-million investment by General Motors of Canada in the production facility, which will go toward increasing the production of the Chevrolet Equinox.
Money will also be going toward the CAMI facility in Ingersoll, where the bodies for the Equinox are made.
“This new investment represents a very effective way for us to meet strong demand for the Chevrolet Equinox and it’s positive news for our community,” states Steve Carlisle, the president of General Motors of Canada, in a news release announcing the investment. “We are focused on delivering great products for our customers.”
The investment means that the Equinox will continue to roll off Oshawa’s consolidated production line until at least 2017.
Adria MacKenzie, General Motors of Canada’s corporate communication’s manager, says the company does not disclose production volumes beyond it’s total annual production, so it’s unknown how many more Equinoxes will be built as a result of the investment.
The president of the union local that represents the plant’s workers says continued production is a good sign for the future of the plant.
“It’s not a piece of overwhelmingly good news, but it’s still good news compared to what we’ve seen in the last little while,” Ron Svajlenko, the president of Unifor Local 222, tells The Oshawa Express. “It’s good for us to keep our plant going. A positive thing if they continue to build is that it’s easier for me to make a pitch for product. It has some silver linings.”
While he doesn’t expect new product to be allocated to Oshawa while General Motors negotiates with the United Autoworkers – the union that represents plant workers south of the border – this new investment in the Oshawa facility is good news ahead of negotiations with Unifor.
“During the time period for negotiations with the UAW, it would be unrealistic for us to expect any kind of product offer. But they’re going to get their negotiations done and wrapped up by mid-September,” Svajlenko says. “After that, we’re open to any kind of discussion at any time as far as the future of Oshawa, so we’ll be approaching that as soon as the GM-UAW contract negotiations are done. As to whether it pays dividends, we’d like to make it happen sooner, but if it takes negotiations to 2016, then we’ll deal with it then. Either way, it’s positive.”