With Camaro out of Canada, questions abound for parts makers
by Michael Ouellette
APMA president Steve Rodgers confident GM will remain loyal to Camaro program suppliers
TORONTO—General Motors’ plans to halt production of its Chevrolet Camaro in Canada has impacts that stretch far beyond the line at the Oshawa Assembly plant.
Some 14 local suppliers with product mandates for the Camaro now face questions as to whether or not those mandates will continue after the Camaro begins production at its new home Lansing, Mich.
Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association (APMA) president Steve Rodgers says the proximity of the Lansing Grand River (LGR) assembly facility means these suppliers could have every chance to keep the contracts.
“Whenever you lose a key program like that it obviously has a negative impact, but to some extent … it’s not necessarily a hugely detrimental impact,” Rodgers said.
“For a lot of Canadian suppliers, if they were shipping to Oshawa, shipping to Lansing, (Mich.), is certainly not out of the realm of being unrealistic. I suspect GM will be quite loyal to (its) supply base, so (parts manufacturers) will have an opportunity to continue to ship to that facility,” he said.
But the location now means increased shipping costs for Canadian suppliers, including fuel, longer travel times and vastly increased unpredictability and complexity as shipments must now cross the border with the U.S.
All of these circumstances increase costs and alter the margins for these contracts.
Add that to the pressure thrust on suppliers to reduce program costs to the OEM each year and some of the suppliers may be forced to look elsewhere to fill the void.
The uncertainty of jobs and a possible replacement vehicle at GM’s Oshawa, Ont., assembly plant leaves a black cloud above those directly related to the Canadian production of the pseudo-sports car, but those indirectly working on the project likely have just as many questions.
Rodgers says the APMA has no plans to engage with GM on the situation, but that the association will focus some of its attention on talks with Canadian governments as it relates to the decision.
“I don’t think we’re going to get involved directly with General Motors,” he said. “We would like to continue to work with the federal and provincial governments to encourage that there is the right level of support for investment in Canada and maintaining Canadian facilities.”
—With files from Dan Ilika