GM shifts some auto production to US from Canada

OSHAWA, Ontario — General Motors is moving production of the next version of its Camaro sports car from its Canadian operation in Oshawa, Ontario, to a plant in Michigan.

GM Canada said a statement Wednesday that “lower capital investment and improved production efficiencies were key factors” in the move.

The Canadian Auto Workers’ most recent contract with GM, which was ratified in September, guaranteed production of the Camaro in Oshawa only until the end of the current generation.

The Canadian Auto Workers union, which represents workers at the plant, said the decision will cut production in Oshawa by as much as one third starting in late 2015 or early 2016, and called on the company to replace the production to protect the jobs at the plant. The union estimated at least 1,000 direct jobs and 9,000 indirect jobs will be lost.

CAW President Ken Lewenza said he felt shocked and betrayed by the move. Some feared recent labor agreements the CAW reached with the North American autoworkers would lead to an exodus of jobs to the U.S. because labor rates are higher in Canada.

“General Motors has once again shown a complete and utter disregard for its workers and also Canadians in general, whose tax dollars kept the company out of bankruptcy,” Lewenza said.

GM said the Camaro is the only rear-wheel drive vehicle assembled at Oshawa. Production of the new Camaro will be consolidated with the production of Cadillac CTS and ATS, also rear-wheel drive vehicles, in Michigan in a bid to improve efficiency.

A consolidated line in Oshawa will continue to produce the current generation Chevrolet Impala and Equinox until June 2014.

GM said it will continue to meet production targets agreed to with the federal Canadian government and provincial Ontario government in 2009.

Ottawa and Ontario contributed $13.7 billion to help bail out GM and Chrysler more than three years ago and combined own about 9 percent of GM’s common shares.

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