We knew it was coming, but the news still stings: General Motors has set November 20, 2015 as the last day of Camaro production at the company’s Oshawa, Ontario factory. After that, the Camaro will be built at GM’s Lansing, MI plant.
GM says the decision is one of economics: by moving Camaro to Lansing, it can consolidate production of its rear-drive cars. GM already builds its Cadillac ATS and CTS there, and the next-generation 2016 Camaro will share its Alpha platform underpinnings with those models.
Stephen Carlisle, GM Canada’s boss-man, says the company will avoid layoffs by offering retirement incentives to its Oshawa workers, of whom a whopping nearly 60 percent are apparently close to retirement. Avoiding layoffs is one thing; not having to hire workers to replace those retirees is quite another. According to the Canadian Auto Workers union at the time of the 2012 decision, Camaro production accounted for about a quarter of the Oshawa plant’s total vehicle production.
The Camaro move will leave production of four vehicles at Oshawa: Chevrolet Impala and Equinox, Buick Regal and Cadillac XTS. (GM says five models, but one of those is the last-generation Impala it continues to build for fleet customers, so we’ll split the difference and call it four-and-a-half.)
Maybe we’re being too hard on GM, a company that just announced 100 new engineering jobs in Oshawa. But that’s cold comfort to southern Ontario’s meat-and-potatoes workforce, which is still reeling from Toyota’s announcement that it will uproot Corolla production from Ontario to Mexico in 2019.
If you want a Canadian-built muscle car, get one while you can.