Equinox Gives Oshawa Consolidated Line Extended Life

Equinox Gives Oshawa Consolidated Line Extended Life

GM Oshawa Plant Closure

GM Canada announced Wednesday it will make a small investment in Oshawa Assemblys Consolidated Line thanks to increased demand of the Chevrolet Equinox.

Its a modest investment in terms of its size, but it increases the volume of stamping we do at CAMI to increase the run. (The increased stamping) will then boost Equinox production in Oshawa, GM Canadas VP of Corporate and Environmental Affairs David Paterson said in an interview with TTAC.

More body panels are stamped at CAMI than that plants assembly line can use, which required GM to utilize its shuttle program to transport excess Equinox bodies to Oshawas Consolidated Line for final assembly, according to GM.

The majority of the $12 million CAD investment will go to CAMI, though the detailed amount was not disclosed. Additional labor will not be needed to produce the additional Equinoxes.

While the success of an 11-year-old model (the Equinox went into its second generation as an enhanced refresh) is newsworthy, there is a larger issue at play.

That investment has the effect of extending further the Consolidated Line until at least 2017, said Paterson.

This is the fifth time the Consolidated Lines death has been postponed in the last ten years, Paterson said. The Consolidated Line was most recently scheduled to shut down in 2016.

Speaking of the Consolidated Line, Paterson said: Its the gift that keeps on giving.

However, the announcement still doesnt ensure the long-term viability of the manufacturing facility.

Camaro production in Oshawa is scheduled to end this November, while next-generation Buick Regal production is rumored to move solely to Russelsheim, Germany in 2017.

While Cadillac currently produces the XTS in Oshawa, that nameplate will be discontinued at the end of its lifecycle in 2019. However, that best-before date doesnt secure Oshawa until 2019. Production could be moved to Hamtramck or Fairfax as those assembly plants also build vehicles sharing the same platform, which are the Impala and LaCrosse. Should GM not opt to move production, but continue to sell the XTS in North America, the XTS could be the first Cadillac produced in China and imported to North America — but thats a far reach.

GM announced they would make a $250 million CAD investment in CAMI for flexible manufacturing similar to Oshawas main flex line, seemingly securing the Equinox in Ingersoll, but no investments have been announced for continued production in Oshawa.

If manufacturing departs, GM looks to keep a significant presence in Oshawa for connected car R&D.

Former mayor of Oshawa, John Gray, has encouraged Canadians to boycott GM if jobs are lost. The future of Oshawa assembly activities wont be announced until 2016 when the company starts labor talks with Unifor.

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