Managing Director of General Motors Canada, Steve Carlisle, has published his most recent community address on the state of GM’s Canadian operations. Below, you will find Carlisle’s remarks on upcoming union contract negotiations, and the impact they will have on local Canadian manufacturing. Lastly, Carlisle focuses on GM Canada’s growing role in the development of autonomous driving technology.
As I have noted many times, we will not be in a position to make longer term product decisions until after our negotiations later this year. But that is not to say we have not seen some positive developments over the past year at GM Canada. We have a major $800 million investment program under way at CAMI. We are investing $13 million at our St. Catharines plant to enable further variants of our 3.6 liter V6 engine. And at Oshawa Assembly, we managed well through the Camaro changes with minimal layoffs, while at the same time running weekend overtime and investing $12 million to increase our Oshawa production of the hot selling Chevrolet Equinox on the Consolidated Line. We are making ongoing investments in our other production, safety and environmental systems as well. In fact GM, has invested well over $1 billion in our plants in Ingersoll, St. Catharines and Oshawa over the past three years and we continue to win awards in Canada for quality, productivity and environmental performance.
The other area of keen interest has been the accelerating wave of disruptive technologies and new business models sweeping over our industry. Under Mary Barra’s leadership we have elected to be leaders of change, which means we must disrupt our own business model. We believe that the future of the automobile industry will be increasingly electric, connected, autonomous, shared and integrated with multi-modal urban transportation and infrastructure systems.
In recent weeks GM demonstrated leadership by announcing the affordable Chevrolet Bolt electric car, with over 300 kilometers of battery charge range, will go into production this year – just one of an array of game-changing innovations. We signaled important new directions with large investments in the ride sharing company Lyft, our purchase of Sidecar assets, working with Mobileye and our announcement last week of “Maven”, GM’s new car and ride sharing business.
Disruption can be disorienting but it also produces significant opportunities. We are focused on working with our partners to maintain competitive assembly work in Canada, but we must also focus on future technology trends like our new “connected car” mandate and our hiring of 100 new software engineers. Last month, we announced that GM Canada will perform the builds of several of the autonomous-driving electric cars at our Oshawa Engineering Centre which will be tested at a GM autonomous ride sharing program at our Technical Centre in Michigan. Just last week we learned that the engineering work we performed in Oshawa on GM’s innovative new Cadillac “Rear Camera Mirror” helped win an AJAC award for Best New Safety Technology. And, we are very excited about our work on new innovative multi-modal transportation solutions (including a new e-bike in our Oshawa Engineering Centre) as we expand our partnerships with Communitech, the University of Waterloo, key suppliers and others.
It has been rewarding to see how our focus on innovation is helping to foster a growing ecosystem of Canadian universities, tech companies and innovation incubators focused on some of the key automotive technology challenges of the future. This is where the auto industry is headed and Canada has every opportunity to play a meaningful and growing leadership role in that change. So 2016 promises to be an exciting year!
Let’s keep in touch.