General Motors has announced that it will invest $250 million in its CAMI Assembly Plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada to install flexible body shop equipment and tooling for future vehicle production.
Currently, CAMI manufactures the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain crossovers based on a specific version of GM’s Theta vehicle architecture. The $250 million investment will convert the plant to a flexible manufacturing facility with “the ability to produce multiple global architectures and body styles”, according to GM Canada president and managing director Kevin Williams, adding that “Continually improving the flexibility of our manufacturing operations helps us respond quickly to customer needs and market demand”.
“We have had a strong start to 2013 with customer demand for our newest vehicles driving improved sales,” said Mr. Williams. “This is strong confirmation that our investing in manufacturing flexibility, finding ways to bring new products to market faster, is the right strategy.”
The investment will equip CAMI with the ability to build a higher variety of differentiated products on multiple platforms, and a much lower costs, the automaker stated in a press release.
Construction is expected to begin in the coming weeks.
The GM Authority Take
This move more or less secures the future of CAMI, at least for another product generation. We expect that the plant will be one of GM’s North American facilities to produce the next-generation Equinox and/or Terrain, both of which will switch to an iteration of GM’s Delta (D2XX) compact vehicle architecture shared with the next-gen Chevrolet Cruze and Opel Astra, among others. That switch will finally place the crossovers squarely into the compact vehicle segment along the lines of the Ford Escape.
Switching to the D2 platform is one of the reasons production will become more flexible and less expensive. And since CAMI will be tooled to produce D2-based vehicles, it will also have the ability to make other products utilizing the same vehicle architecture, production constraints and other bottlenecks allowing.
We’d like to extend a warm congrats to CAMI workers and management, who have elected to commence early labor negotiations with GM back in February.