The manufacturing situation new GM Canada President Travis Hester finds himself walking into might sound somewhat familiar to him.
Canadian auto manufacturing — especially in terms of vehicle assembly — has been in decline since the turn of the century, as thousands of jobs have been shed and the country’s standing as one of the largest auto manufacturing nations has slipped.
While manufacturing is far from dead — GM, for instance, has pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into its Canadian plants in recent years — the picture is clear: Automakers, looking to take advantage of Mexico’s low wages and plentiful free trade agreements, are largely shunning Canada when it comes to new investment as they look southward.
And when it comes specifically to General Motors, the automaker has closed three plants since 1993.
Sainte-Thérèse Assembly, just outside Montreal closed in the early the 2000s. The Windsor Transmission in Windsor, Ont., closed in 2010 and parts have since been razed or turned into a UHaul storage facility. And the Scarborough Van Plant in the GTA ended production in 1993 and is now a shopping mall.