With car sales in the US and China locked in a precipitous slowdown that is only expected to worsen, GM on Monday is expected to announce the closure of one of its Canadian plants as the company hopes to move more production to Mexico and (hopefully) bolster its lagging shares, Reuters reported. The company’s plant in Oshawa, Ontario – the plant in question – produces slow-selling Chevrolet Impala and Cadillac XTS sedans, while also completing final assembly of the better-selling Chevy Silverado and Sierra pickup trucks, which are shipped from Indiana.
The outcry from the union and local officials is already causing political pressure on GM to mount after the carmaker accepted billions of dollars in subsidies from the Canadian and US governments after filing for bankruptcy nearly a decade ago. But the company must weigh these considerations against the demands of Wall Street analysts, who believe that GM has too many plants in North America. Signaling the start of the carmaker’s latest cost-cutting initiative, the company said on Oct. 31 that about 18,000 of its 50,000 salaried employees in North America would soon be eligible for buyouts.
Two sources told Bloomberg that the announcement of the plant’s closure is expected on Monday.
The closure is not unexpected. In a message to employees last month, GM CEO Mary Barra cited the stagnant share price as a reason for tougher restructuring measures.
Unifor, the Canadian autoworkers union that represents the plant’s employees, told Bloomberg that it has been told there is no car production planned at the factory beyond next year, raising the prospect of talks to preserve jobs. Unifor National President Jerry Dias said back in April that the Oshawa complex had been slated for closure in June of this year. But he added that one top GM Canada executive had vowed that it wouldn’t close on his watch.
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