One of Canada’s largest automotive suppliers could step in to save the soon-to-be-shuttered GM Oshawa plant in Ontario.
According to Automotive News Canada, Magna International is exploring the possibility of saving the beleaguered plant with a plan to assemble cars for different manufacturers on a contract basis. According to Magna CEO Don Walker, if the company is able to secure commitments from several automakers, the GM Oshawa plant could be the perfect place to execute the scheme, what with 2,600 workers and roughly 10 million square feet of available manufacturing space. Key word: if.
“If we had four or five customers that said, ‘I’ll give you 20,000, 30,000, 40,000, 50,000 vehicles,’ and we got that up to 120,000 to 150,000 vehicles, then we could have a plant,” Walker said. The plan isn’t a new one to Magna, already the company’s Austrian arm, Magna Steyr, is contracted to build the new Toyota Supra and has previously built products for Jaguar, BMW, Mercedes, and Aston Martin.
Ten years ago GM sunk $2 billion into upgrading Oshawa Assembly into a flexible manufacturing site that saw a distinct mix of products capable of being produced on the same assembly line. There’s even a modern paint shop that’s capable of accepting up to 27 different body styles, something that would be absolutely perfect for contract manufacturing.
GM plans to end production of all products in Oshawa by the end of the year, a plan which will end 112 years of automobile production at Oshawa. The plant currently is responsible for the Cadillac XTS, the Chevrolet Impala, along with final assembly of the previous generation Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size pickup trucks.
Of course, even if Magna does secure the necessary contracts there’s no guarantee that the GM Oshawa plant will be saved, as Walker said the company would certainly consider Oshawa, but there’s also the potential to build a brand-new plant somewhere else in North America.