In the past few years, the automotive market has seen a huge shift from cars to crossovers, as well as an increasing demand in pickup trucks. This is surprising, as fuel prices increased significantly at the start of 2018. Despite those rising costs and the fact that trucks may not be the most fuel efficient vehicle in the market, truck sales and demand are still strong. Automakers such as General Motors and Ford built and produced their trucks here in Ontario up until the recession. This was an especially large hit in Oshawa, with the General Motors truck plant, when production was shifted stateside and south of the border. Ford’s F-150 was overtaken by high production demands for Ford crossover vehicles and production was moved out of Oakville. With a shrinking portfolio of vehicles built at Oshawa, the plant’s future was up in the air and a major topic with the UNIFOR demonstration and demands. General Motors saw the plant fit enough to build Sierra double cabs to help the changeover to the new model as well as meeting production demands for the popular truck.
On Thursday, June 7th, 400 GM dealers and employees were invited to check out this new plant and assembly line, one that is very important to our economy and has secured the future for Oshawa for a while. The existing plant that builds the XTS and Impala was converted in 6 months to get production up and running, an investment of $500 million from General Motors to create a new line and more. The 2018 Sierra and Silverado 1500 Double Cabs are built here for the Canadian market, as well as HD Double Cabs as of a few weeks prior. The launch of GM’s Truck Nation marks the return of Canadian truck production and kicked off with a dealer video contest and a GM truck driveaway for the dealers from the plant. This is promising for our economy in Ontario and Canada as well as for Oshawa.
General Motors isn’t the only company making large changes due to truck and crossover demand. FCA revealed on Friday, June 1st at an Investors conference in Turin, Italy, the plan for the company and brands up until 2022. FCA is directly more money, if not most, to Ram and Jeep due to increased truck and SUV demand and more profit as well. Ram is adding a new HD truck, alike the 2019 1500 trucks, as well as a new Promaster City, a Rebel TRX (Raptor Fighter) and a new midsize pickup as well closer to 2022. Jeep was the largest focus, with many new product releases worldwide for the brand before 2022. The large additions are the new Jeep Wrangler pickup and the return of the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer. FCA also announced the Jeep will receive more autonomy in their vehicles as well as available Plug In Hybrid technology as well by 2022. This will grow Jeep significantly in North America, but also globally as well. Chrysler, Dodge and Fiat saw a plan that kept them around but pinned Dodge strictly as a performance brand, Chrysler as the “people mover” brand and Fiat as a brand with more EVs and Hybrid technologies.