Chevrolet has a long history of assembling vehicles in Canada. It dates all the way back to 1907 even before the merger with General Motors. The list of cars and trucks that have rolled out of the Oshawa Assembly plant is long and famous. Some of the nameplates include the Chevy Impala, Bel Air and Camaro as well as the Pontiac Grand Prix. More recently GMC Sierra, Cadillac XTS, Chevy Equinox and Chevy Silverado have rolled off the line. At one point, Oshawa was one of the largest auto manufacturing facilities in the world.
The plant, located in the suburbs of the greater Toronto area, was shut down at the end of 2019 when the last GMC Sierra rolled off the line. But GM invested millions in the retooling of this facility, which now includes a body shop. Ahead of schedule, a 2022 heavy-duty Silverado High Country in red was the first off the line, reviving the history and heritage of this facility while also providing jobs to nearly 2,000 people.
“The reopening of Oshawa Assembly is an historic accomplishment for GM Canada and our many community partners who worked together to bring us to this very happy day,” said Scott Bell, GM Canada president and managing director. “The rapid retooling, hiring and training needed to reach today’s start of production was an extraordinary accomplishment.”
GM said the decision initially to shut down Oshawa was a difficult one. But the need to retool the massive facility was obvious with such a strong demand for trucks such as the Silverado and Sierra. The first trucks assembled at the retooled Oshawa will ship to dealers sometime next month.
Monte Doran, spokesperson for GM said that the new retooled Oshawa facility covers 13 acres and contains 1,200 new robots, 10,300 feet of new conveyors and 310 miles of electric wiring. All in all the plant contains 5,000 parts from 370 different suppliers and will be a huge economic driver for the greater Toronto region.
“Today’s celebration is an important milestone in Ontario’s automotive history with the revitalization of a plant that has been a part of the fabric of Oshawa and Durham Region for decades,” said Vic Fedelli, Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “This announcement marks the resurgence of Ontario’s auto sector.”
The Oshawa Assembly Plant will become the only GM factory to build both heavy duty and light duty pickups.
As manufacturing ramps back up after the pandemic and automotive manufacturers begin dealing with any number of supply chain issues, slowdowns and hiccups along the way, it’s smart for GM to reinvest in one of its most famous, not to mention largest, plants.
Oshawa is a great resource for GM, and targeting the high-demand trucks for extra production here is not only a good thing for the consumer but also a sound business decision.