"The whole extent of the autoparts industry as it exists in Canada is only here because of the automotive assembly plants we have here," says Faria. "It's the reason that other political jurisdictions provide the incredible level of incentives they do to attract new automotive assembly facilities."
With the industry rationalized in North America, there is opportunity for domestic-based parts builders to also build parts for non-domestic assembly plants.
Faria notes that Canadian parts plants do export parts, but they run up against just-in-time delivery requirements, which work best when suppliers are located virtually next door to the assemblers.
He points to the example of Magna's Integram facility in Windsor, a virtual extension of FCA's Windsor Assembly Plant that assembles the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Caravan minivans.
Every day the minivan plant operates, Integram makes the exact seats to match the exact minivan models coming down the line. Trucks leave Integram every hour and when the seats arrive at FCA, they are moved directly to assembly.
According to the latest StatsCan figures, 94 per cent of Canada's autoparts exports go to the United States. Three percent goes to Mexico.
Regaining Canada's top-five auto assembler status seems as daunting a task as GM trying to regain the 40 percent market share it enjoyed in the early 1980s. In both cases competitors have moved in, matured to become major players, and are not going anywhere.