The incoming sixth-generation 2016 Camaro has captivated Chevrolet fans around the world, but many Canadians with close ties to the auto sector aren’t exactly happy to see the new vehicle hit the road.
The last fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro will roll off the assembly line in Oshawa, Ontario in just four months and assembly workers at GM’s Oshawa Assembly plant are growing increasingly anxious as to what lies ahead for them.
Back in April, GM Canada officially announced it would axe 1,000 jobs from the Camaro production facility on November 20, the very last time a Zeta-based Camaro will be assembled.
A few days prior, the company announced it would add 100 new positions to its Oshawa engineering centre, located beside the Oshawa plant, in an effort to boost connected vehicle development. Unsurprisingly, the announced job cuts stole headlines and incensed many who thought the job additions were too little, too late.
“It doesn’t just affect General Motors, it affects the entire community,” Chris Black, a worker at the Oshawa plant, told CTV News. “For every job inside, it affects seven jobs outside.”
Since the company announced the fifth-gen vehicle would be produced in Oshawa back in 2006, approximately 130,000 vehicles have rolled off the line each year. In fact, more than half a million “new Camaros” have since rolled out of the factory, making it the best selling Camaro in history.
The production announcement saved 2,700 jobs, according to the news outlet, but now Ontario’s once-prosperous auto sector will be dealt another blow once 2016 Chevrolet Camaro production shifts to GM’s Lansing Grand River assembly plant in Michigan, just south of the border.
But it’s easy to understand why workers are worried about their future. A decade ago the plant had 11,000 workers. Next year, that number will shrink to 2,500, according to the news outlet.
Despite the cuts, GM says it remains committed to Canada, and will continue to produce five other vehicles at the factory: the Chevrolet Impala, Buick Regal, Cadillac XTS, the Chevrolet fleet Impala and Chevrolet Equinox.
But Canada isn’t holding its breath. Earlier this month the federal and provincial governments hired auto czar Ray Tanguay, recently retired chairman of Toyota Motor manufacturing Canada, as a special advisor to help protect and maintain the country’s auto sector.