In part of what General Motors calls a transformation for the future, the automaker has announced that its Oshawa, Ontario, assembly plant will close at some point in 2019.
While the future closure of the assembly plant itself does not have a direct link to Canada’s automotive aftermarket, it is a significant employer in Oshawa, located east of Toronto, and will surely affect both the local economy and suppliers to the plant. Some 2,500 workers are employed at the facility.
The specific timing of the closure was not announced, but it does not have a product production allocation past December 2019.
It is also an unavoidable indicator of significant change in the North American automotive industry at large.
Oshawa had been the home of General Motors in Canada for decades, a significant point of pride for the automotive industry in Canada.
The announced closure is one of three assembly plants slated to close, one in Detroit, Mich, and another in Warren, Ohio. In addition, two propulsion unit plants in the U.S. will also close.
GM had previously announced the shuttering of a plant in Korea and said it will close two other international facilities in 2019.
Together with staffing moves, GM expects to increase annual adjusted automotive free cash flow by $6 billion by year-end 2020 on a run-rate basis.
“The actions we are taking today continue our transformation to be highly agile, resilient and profitable, while giving us the flexibility to invest in the future,” said GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra. “We recognize the need to stay in front of changing market conditions and customer preferences to position our company for long-term success.”
Contributing to the cash savings of approximately $6 billion are cost reductions of $4.5 billion and a lower capital expenditure annual run rate of almost $1.5 billion.”
Among the actions are changes to product development and portfolio, and increasing capacity utilization by closing plants and moving production.
Salaried and salaried contract staff reduction of 15% is planned including a drop of 25% in executive positions.
GM also said it will be turning its focus to trucks, CUVs and SUVs and focus its investments in battery-electric architectures.
The company expects that 75% of its sales will come from five vehicle architectures by early next decade.