The planned 2019 closure of General Motors’ Oshawa, Ont., factory comes as most other Canadian vehicle assembly plants appear to be secure, at least for the immediate future.
“There’s some protection at the other plants because of the uniqueness of the products [built there] and the importance of that product in the manufacturer’s portfolio,” said Joe McCabe, CEO of AutoForecast Solutions.
In November, GM said it would stop allocating products to Oshawa Assembly by the end of 2019 as part of a larger restructuring of its global operations. The plant builds two sedans — the Cadillac XTS and Chevrolet Impala — that GM plans to cut from its lineup because of slow sales. Oshawa Assembly also does the final assembly of the previous-generation Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups, but that is also scheduled to end.
If GM follows through on closure plans, about 2,500 hourly workers would lose their jobs and an estimated $3 billion a year in parts would stop flowing, according to the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association.
The announcement by GM to close Oshawa and four U.S. plants sent shockwaves through the auto industry, raising questions about the future of auto manufacturing in Canada.
Investment in new factories has largely flowed south to Mexico and the southern United States, but industry experts said most Canadian assembly plants appeared to be in little danger of closing in the short term. Most are operating at or near capacity to build vehicles that are crucial to their respective automakers’ futures.