GM to build Buick Regal in Ontario, add 600 jobs

Wed Nov 25, 2009 3:03pm EST
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TORONTO (Reuters) - General Motors Co said on Wednesday it will build the 2011 Buick Regal in Oshawa, Ontario, as part of a commitment to Canada to keep production there in exchange for billions in government aid.

The Canadian Auto Workers union said the new vehicle, to be built alongside the hot-selling Camaro starting in the first quarter of 2011, will require a new production shift at the plant and an increase of about 600 jobs.

"Definitely, when the Buick Regal is introduced, there will be a need to put an additional shift on, which will help recall additional members from layoff," said Chris Buckley, president of CAW Local 222.

GM has about 1,200 workers on layoff in Oshawa as a result of the brutal downturn in the auto sector that forced both GM and Chrysler to restructure under bankruptcy protection.

Buckley said GM would launch yet another vehicle in Oshawa in the fourth quarter of 2011.

"It's going to be a rear-wheel-drive vehicle," he said. "All indications are that it is going to be the next generation of Cadillac."

The new vehicles are part of a production commitment to the CAW and to the governments of Canada and the province of Ontario to launch five new vehicles, including hybrids, from plants in Ontario.

GM was given $9.5 billion in Canadian loans earlier this year to help it avoid liquidation. The CAW also agreed to steep concessions to help the company survive.

On top of the product commitments, Canada and Ontario took 11.7 percent of the shares in the newly restructured GM in exchange for the loans.   Continued...