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GM to build Buick Regal in Canada, restore 600 CAW jobs

GM to build Buick Regal in Canada, restore 600 CAW jobs

David Barkholz
Automotive News | November 25, 2009 – 11:33 am EST


General Motors Co. said its all-new, 2011 Buick Regal sedan will be built in Oshawa, Ontario, restoring 600 assembly jobs.

Production will begin in the first quarter of 2011, GM said in a statement. The Regal, based on the 2009 Opel Insignia, will join the Chevrolet Impala sedan and Chevrolet Camaro in Oshawa. The three vehicles are on separate GM platforms.

Today’s announcement completes the production picture for the Regal. GM had said previously that the top-of-the line CLX version of the Regal will be built in Russelsheim, Germany, in the second quarter of next year before shifting to a North American factory.

GM said Oshawa has been running on overtime since June to keep up with demand for the Camaro. Production of the Camaro convertible also is set to begin in the first quarter of 2011.

“The new Regal gives Buick a modern performance sedan, and its production here in Oshawa is terrific news for our employees, the Canadian Auto Workers, dealers and suppliers,” Arturo Elias, president of General Motors of Canada, said in the statement.

The CAW said the new shift stemming from the Regal production will restore about 600 jobs at the plant.

"Today we currently have approximately 1,200 people on layoff as a result of the downturn in the industry," said Chris Buckley, president of CAW Local 222. "So, an additional shift will take care of approximately 600, and then later on, in the fourth quarter of 2011, General Motors is going to introduce another vehicle."

The Insignia was voted 2009 “European Car of the Year” a year ago by automotive journalists.

Canadian commitment

The new vehicles are part of a production commitment to the CAW and to the governments of Canada and the province of Ontario to launch five new vehicles, including hybrids, from plants in Ontario.

GM was given $9.5 billion in Canadian loans earlier this year to help it avoid liquidation. The CAW also agreed to steep concessions to help the company survive.

On top of the product commitments, Canada and Ontario took 11.7 percent of the shares in the newly restructured GM in exchange for the loans.

The company also said it would maintain just under 20 percent of its U.S.-Canada production in Canada, and spend C$2.2 billion ($2.1 billion) on capital projects in the country through 2016, as well as C$1 billion on r&d.

The Regal is the third vehicle in the production commitment, following the Chevrolet Equinox and the GMC Terrain, two popular crossover utility vehicles built at GM’s CAMI joint-venture plant with Suzuki Motor Corp. in Ingersoll, Ontario.

Reuters contributed to this report.


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