Oshawa Car Assembly
Aerial view of the GM facilities in Oshawa
|Area||930,000 m2 (10,000,000 sq ft)|
|Owner(s)||General Motors Canada|
Oshawa Car Assembly (also known simply as GM Oshawa) is a manufacturing facility in the city of Oshawa, Ontario, Canada, that built various automobiles for General Motors Canada. Vehicles were primarily produced for the US, Canadian, and Mexican markets, but they also built exports for various countries around the world, particularly South America and the Middle East. Historically the Oshawa plant was the source of all right-hand-drive market GM exports with complete vehicles or knock-down kits shipped to Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United Kingdom until the end of the 1960s. At one time, the factory was one of the largest auto manufacturing facilities in the world, with two car assembly plants, a truck assembly plant, as well as parts production including Harrison radiators, AC Delco batteries (for both GM and other vehicle manufacturers) and America Axles. Between 1999 and 2019, it had won more quality and productivity awards than any other GM plant. The plant is part of the larger GM Autoplex.
The facility has over 10 million square feet (930,000 m²) of vacant factory floor. It was converted to a state of the art Flexible Manufacturing facility in 2008, which involved the consolidation of two car plants under the same roof and the addition of a $1.3B paint shop which can accommodate 27 different body styles, including cars, pick up trucks and vans. Approximately 3,600 hourly and 400 salaried employees were working at the plant, with many more engineers working at GM's Regional Engineering Centre across the road. The hourly-rated workers were represented by their union, Unifor Local 222. In August 2017, it was rated highly by its employees in The Best Places to Work in Canada rankings by Indeed, garnering 4th spot overall, and 1st for wages and benefits.
On November 26, 2018, GM announced that production of new cars at Oshawa would wind down in 2019 and cease by the end of the year. The closure will be affecting 2,500 union workers and 300 management. On May 8, 2019 GM announced they would be spending $170 million (CAD) to transition the plant from vehicle assembly to the production of body stampings and other subassemblies, and would convert 22 hectares (220,000 m²) of the facility to a test track for the development of autonomous vehicles.
The facility had produced vehicles since 1907. It was one of six locations building Chevrolet before it merged with GM in 1918. In January 1918, Oshawa became the first Canadian GM plant to minimize the issue of large scale layoffs by cutting the second shift and alternating day- and night-shift workers at two-week intervals. This system was later adopted at other plants around the continent.
From its beginnings, the Oshawa plant supplied right-hand-drive vehicles to international markets in kit form for local assembly, or as completed vehicles until the late 1960s. International markets saw U.S and Canadian-only GM vehicles such as the Bel Air, Pontiac Parisienne, Pontiac Laurentian, and Chevrolet Impala.
In the mid-1980s, GM began a large transformation of the facility, naming the site "Autoplex." The changeover came in three steps, the first being conversion of the truck plant to GMT400 production in 1986. The next step was retooling Line 2 for the new W-body Regal, which began production in mid-1987. The final instalment was a long changeover of Line 1 for the Chevrolet Lumina, which went into production on January 8, 1989 as a 1990 model.
The Chevrolet Monte Carlo and Pontiac Grand Prix were discontinued in June and November 2007 respectively. The Buick LaCrosse was discontinued from Oshawa #2 in 2008 and moved to Fairfax Assembly for 2009. In the fourth quarter of that year, it began producing the new Chevrolet Camaro. Both the Buick Regal and the Camaro Convertible launched on the Flex Line in the first quarter of 2011. The plant began the production of high performance 2012 Camaro ZL1 and the 2012 Buick Regal GS in 2012 and will build the 2013 Cadillac XTS in the first quarter of 2012.
In August 2010, the plant began assembling the Chevrolet Equinox in partnership with another GM facility in Ingersoll, Ontario, known as CAMI Automotive. The metal bodies are made at CAMI, trucked two hours east to Oshawa, where they are inserted on the conveyor just before the paint shop. The bodies are painted and then go through the general assembly process at the Oshawa plant. The entire process was developed as a quick way to respond to high demand for the Equinox product. The CAMI facility does make Equinox and GMC Terrain from start to finish at their own plant, but they did not have the capacity to put more bodies through paint and general assembly.
In mid 2018, it was announced that the previous generation of the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and the GMC Sierra 1500 would be sold alongside their successors for the 2019 model year, as the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LD and the GMC Sierra 1500 Classic. Final assembly of these trucks, which would only be sold in Double Cab, Standard Bed form, would occur at Oshawa Car Assembly. This marks the first time since 2009 that Oshawa Assembly (Oshawa Truck Assembly), which also assembled the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and the GMC Sierra 1500 in Extended Cab form, would assemble trucks.
On November 26, 2018, General Motors announced the closure of the Oshawa car assembly plant complex ending 111 years of auto manufacturing in Oshawa.
The plant won the J.D. Power Gold Award for initial quality in 2002, 2003, 2005, and 2006; as well a numerous other individual awards for the specific models it produces. In 2007, the plant won silver for initial quality, and a Gold Best in Segment award for the Pontiac Grand Prix, and Bronze Best in Segment for the Monte Carlo. In all, the plant has won 19 J.D. Power awards for quality since 1999. In recognition of that achievement, J.D. Power awarded the Founder's Award to the Car Plant in the summer of 2008; it is an award that has been presented only six times in the lengthy history of J.D. Power & Associates. Harbour Consulting rated Oshawa #1 (building the Impala and Monte Carlo) as the second most efficient in North America, the top-rated in the study was Oshawa #2 (building the LaCrosse and Grand Prix).
Former models (model years)
Some of the former models produced at the plant included:
- Chevrolet Silverado (2018-2019)
- GMC Sierra (2018-2019)
- Chevrolet Impala Limited (2014-2016)
- Cadillac XTS (2013-2019)
- Chevrolet Equinox (2010–2017)
- Chevrolet Camaro (2010–2015)
- Buick LaCrosse/Allure (2005–2009)
- Pontiac Grand Prix (2004–2008)
- Chevrolet Monte Carlo (1995–2007)
- Chevrolet Lumina (1990–2001)
- Buick Regal (1988–2004, 2011-2017)
- Buick Century (1982–2005)
- Chevrolet Celebrity (1982–1990)
- Pontiac 6000 (1982–1988)
- Chevrolet Bel Air (1976–1981)
- Chevrolet Caprice Classic (1971–1990)
- Chevrolet Brookwood/Kingswood/Kingswood Estate/Townsman (1969–1972)
- Chevrolet Impala (1965–1985, 2000–2019)
- Acadian Beaumont (1964–1969)
- Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu SS Convertible (1964–1965)
- Pontiac Parisienne (1958–1986)
- Pontiac Laurentian (1958–1981)
- Chevrolet Biscayne (1958–1975)
- Pontiac Strato Chief (1958–1969)
- Chevrolet 150 (1954–1957)
- McLaughlin Chevrolets from 1916
- McLaughlin Buicks (1907–1918)
- Oshawa Truck Assembly - originally located in the North Plant, later moved on the same site next to Oshawa Car Assembly and closed in 2009.
- General Motors Canada
- Final Offer - 1984 documentary film that shows life on the floor of the Oshawa Plant.
- List of GM factories
- "General Motors Accelerates Transformation" (Press release). November 26, 2018. Retrieved 26 Nov 2018.
- McLaughlin, Amara (November 26, 2018). "'They are not closing our damn plant': Union vows fight as GM plans Oshawa closing". CBC News. Retrieved November 27, 2018.
- "GM announces $170M investment in Oshawa plant that will save 300 jobs". The Canadian Press. May 8, 2019. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
- Ward's Automotive Yearbook 1988. Ward's Communications, Inc. 1988.
- Ward's Automotive Yearbook 1989. Ward's Communications, Inc. 1989.
- "Efficient auto factories aren't spared the ax". Detroit News. Archived from the original on June 1, 2006. Retrieved June 2, 2006. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- "The Harbour Report North America 2007" (pdf). Harbour Consulting. May 31, 2007. Retrieved 2009-09-11.