Over the past decade, we have seen a lot of our automotive production leave Canada, the Crown Victoria in St. Thomas, the Camaro and other
vehicles leaving Oshawa. This, no doubt, has taken a hit on our economy in that sector, though we have a few companies investing more into Canada and our facilities. Just recently, Toyota has announced that its two Ontario facilities will get a $1.4 billion upgrade, creating 450 new jobs and about 1000 co-op placements. These facilities include the Cambridge plant and the Woodstock plant, that will be upgraded for the new 2019 RAV4. Ontario and the federal government are both contributing $110 million towards the upgrade. Toyota will also contribute $200 million over the next 10 years for Research & Development in Canada. This move follows what GM Canada has done over the last decade, bringing R&D to our Canadian talent and developing new autonomous technologies and infotainmentsolutions from right here in Canada.
With more R&D being introduced into Canada, that example was lead by the former GM Canada CEO, Steve Carlisle. Carlisle, a Canadian himself, fought for Canadian attention within General Motors and brought a new level of automotive development to Canada. Under his leadership, GM Canada and General Motors set Canada as the centre for new development in autonomous automotive technologies, connected car technologies and new infotainment solutions. This opened up new facilities in Markham and Waterloo and created about 1000 jobs as well in a very short period of time. GM Canada is also building another new facility at Eastern Avenue in Downtown Toronto, east of the DVP, that will house a full-line dealer, Cadillac Canada headquarters as well as the operating headquarters for the new car-sharing program Maven. Steve Carlisle was appointed as the new head of Cadillac globally, a very large move, which kicked out the former head Johan who was quite controversial trying to position Cadillac against the German competitors with confusing naming and strategies. While a great move for Carlisle and a big deal in the industry, Canada lost a great executive who brought a lot of new innovation to Canada. Travis Hester, former GM Vice-president for Global Product Programs, has now been named GM Canada CEO as of mid April. Hester has been with GM since 1995, an Australian-native who made the move to North America with GM in 2005 and has worked on many new products and platforms including the CT6. General Motors, after a long hiatus, also has brought back some GM Truck production back to Canada in Oshawa. GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado Double Cabs are now being produced in Oshawa, due to rising demand and a continuation of this body style, further into the year while the new generation of trucks is ramped up. There is no word yet as to whether or not the next generation pickup will see Canadian assembly as well, but this is a positive move for Oshawa.
Written by David Murphy
Motoring Contributing Writer