GM to boost production in Canada

Mon Nov 9, 2009 5:36pm EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By John McCrank

INGERSOLL, Ontario (Reuters) - General Motors Co said on Monday it would invest C$90 million ($85 million) to boost production at a joint venture plant in Canada where it builds two popular crossover utility vehicles.

GM also said it would bring back about 150 laid-off workers to the CAMI Automotive plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, a joint venture with Suzuki Motor Corp that has about 2,000 hourly employees.

The automaker said it would immediately begin to retool the plant -- about half way between Toronto and Detroit -- to increase production of the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain crossovers by 40,000 vehicles. The plant now produces 185,000 vehicles a year.

"The plan that we have laid out for GM Canada is still in its early stages, but we are seeing some very encouraging signs, and today is a testament of that," said Arturo Elias, president of GM Canada.

GM emerged from bankruptcy protection in July with the help of billions of dollars in funding from the governments of the United States, Canada, and the province of Ontario.

At the time, the struggling automaker was bleeding jobs, having just shuttered its truck plant in Oshawa, Ontario, affecting 2,600 workers. It had also just cut four of its brands -- Saab, Hummer, Pontiac and Saturn -- so that it could focus on core U.S. nameplates: Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC.

That refocusing strategy played into CAMI's favor, and GM recently started a third shift at the 20-year-old plant, recalling about 300 workers there last month. With Monday's announcement, no remaining CAMI workers will be on layoff.

"We are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel and it's not an oncoming train," Tony Clement, Canada's minister of industry, said in Ingersoll at the GM announcement.   Continued...

<p>A General Motors logo is seen at a dealership in Montreal in this May 31, 2009 file photo. GM is planning to invest almost $100 million at the CAMI Automotive plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, the Globe and Mail said, citing sources familiar with GM's plans. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi</p>