GM’s Camaro ‘coming home’

December 20, 2012
GM’s Camaro ‘coming home’
Production moving from Ontario to Lansing for next-gen; no estimates on new jobs
General Motors Co.’s next-generation Camaro will flex its muscle on American turf.

The Detroit automaker said Wednesday that the Camaro will be manufactured at its Lansing Grand River Assembly Plant. The car is currently produced at a GM plant in Oshawa, Ontario.

“It’s nice that the American muscle car is coming home,” said Mike Green, president of United Auto Workers Local 652, which represents workers at GM’s Lansing Grand River plant.

The number of new jobs or the possibility of a third shift in Lansing is not yet known, Green said. The plant currently employs 1,643 workers.

Production of the Camaro is expected to remain in Canada into 2016. Job losses at GM’s Oshawa Assembly Plant, which employs about 2,000 workers, could reach about 600 based on production projections from Canadian Auto Workers President Ken Lewenza on Wednesday.

GM still expects to meet investments and production guarantees outlined by the Canadian and Ontario governments in return for $9.5 billion in support during the financial crisis.

GM, in a statement, said it hopes to capitalize on lower capital investments and production efficiencies by housing similarly built vehicles under one roof. But the move is also likely because of the higher labor costs in Canada compared to the U.S.

“It’s definitely both,” said Joe Langley, senior analyst of North American forecasts at LMC Automotive. “They are going to use the Alpha (new compact and midsize, rear-wheel-drive) platform and it doesn’t make sense to have another vehicle on its own in another plant.”

In Lansing, the automaker produces the Cadillac CTS and ATS, which, like the Camaro, are both rear-wheel-drive vehicles.

In Oshawa, GM manufactures the Buick Regal and Cadillac XTS, which are front-wheel-drive models.

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