Camaro: Made in Canada

Highly ranked Oshawa plant to build muscle car
BY JOE GUY COLLIER - Detroit Free Press

August 22, 2006

The Chevrolet Camaro revival of an American muscle car is headed to Oshawa, Ontario.

General Motors of Canada announced Monday that the GM Oshawa Car Assembly Plant will make the 2009 Camaro. GM will spend $660 million to convert the plant to a flexible manufacturing facility capable of producing the new car.

The return of the Camaro, cancelled in 2002, is highly anticipated by auto enthusiasts. Production at Oshawa is to begin in 2008 with the vehicle coming to market in early 2009

Oshawa's selection comes as no surprise, said Michael Robinet, vice president of global forecast services for CSM Worldwide, an automotive consulting firm in Northville.

Oshawa routinely ranks as one of the most efficient auto plants in North America in the annual Harbour Report. It currently makes the Chevrolet Impala and Monte Carlo, the Buick Lacrosse and the Pontiac Grand Prix. The Camaro will be built off a new rear-wheel-drive platform.

"Oshawa has had a good track record in the past for launching key platforms for General Motors," Robinet said.

He said the Camaro could be the beginning of a string of good news for Oshawa, as other new vehicles will surely follow. "You can't look at this just as the Camaro," Robinet said. "You just don't put one vehicle into this plant. They're going to be putting a host of vehicles into this facility and the Camaro is just the first one off this platform."

GM executives have billed the new Camaro as a way to help the company reconnect with its U.S. muscle-car roots, which may make the choice of a Canadian plant sound odd.

But the Camaro has Canadian ties, too. From 1993 until its final run in 2002, the Camaro was built in Ste. Therese, Quebec, outside Montreal. That plant has been closed.

"Oshawa's selection to build the new Camaro is a tribute to our employees' reputation for the industry's best quality and productivity and further evidence of the exciting comeback happening at GM today," Arturo Elias, president of GM Canada, said in a statement.

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