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GM Will Spend $2 Billion to Upgrade Plants, Increase Production in Ontario

Scott Bell, Vice President, Global Chevrolet, and Marissa West, President and Managing Director, GM Canada | Photo: General Motors (Ryan Bolton)
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Derek Boshouwers
The CAMI Assembly facility in Ingersoll will become Canada’s first electric-vehicle plant

In another bit of great news for Ontario and its auto workers, General Motors announced this week that it will spend $2 billion to refit and upgrade two plants in the province, including its CAMI Assembly facility in Ingersoll, Ontario which will start assembling electric vehicles. The plant will thus become Canada’s first electric-vehicle assembly plant.

GM will also expand production at its Oshawa plant, with assembly of the light-duty Chevrolet Silverado pickup (gas-powered) getting underway there in the coming months. GM currently builds the heavy-duty Silverado there, and the expansion will mean the addition of a third shift at the plant, which will take on 2,600 new workers.

The retool of the CAMI plant will happen on an accelerated schedule as well, with production of EVs at the plant expected to begin by the end of 2022. The Ingersoll plant will handle manufacture of BrightDrop electric delivery vans. Recall that BrightDrop is a GM-owned company that is getting ready to launch its Zevo 600 (formerly EV600) model, with the Zevo 400 (formerly EV400) to follow next year. Its customers to date include FedEx and Verizon.

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BrightDrop Zevo 600
BrightDrop Zevo 600 | Photo: BrightDrop

“Later this year, our CAMI plant in Ingersoll will begin Canada’s first full-scale electric vehicle manufacturing with BrightDrop. This partnership with the Governments of Ontario and Canada is helping GM build a more diverse, innovative and sustainable industry and EV supply chain for the future.”

- Marissa West, GM Canada president and managing director

The federal government has pledged to pitch in $259 million from its Strategic Innovation Fund in support of GM's investment.

General Motors had previously announced a $799 million investment in CAMI to prepare it to produce BrightDrop’s EV600 long-range all-electric van, since renamed Zevo 600.

GM has made clear it wants EV production capacity to reach 1 million units in North America by the end of 2025. And, it is making it clear as well that Canada will play a central role in achieving that target. Explained Steve Carlisle, GM's president of North America, “Canada is now critical to EV battery supply chain. There’ll be a little bit of Canada in every electric vehicle at GM.”

A Chevrolet Silverado HD built in Oshawa
A Chevrolet Silverado HD built in Oshawa | Photo: Chevrolet (Ryan Bolton)

The new announcement also puts on an exclamation mark on the reversed fortunes of the Oshawa plant, the very survival of which was in doubt just a few years ago. It was one of the five company plants earmarked for closure by GM CEO Mary Barra in 2018. Times have changed, obviously. Following 2020 negotiations between GM and Unifor, the union representing Canadian auto workers, the plant was saved, and last year it started assembly of heavy-duty pickups.

The Honourable Doug Ford, Ontario Premier; The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry; Scott Bell, Vice President, Global Chevrolet; The Honourable Vic Fedeli, Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade; Mr. Ryan Turnbull, Member of Parliament for Whitby, Ontario; and Marissa West, President and Managing Director, GM Canada
The Honourable Doug Ford, Ontario Premier; The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry; Scott Bell, Vice President, Global Chevrolet; The Honourable Vic Fedeli, Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade; Mr. Ryan Turnbull, Member of Parliament for Whitby, Ontario; and Marissa West, President and Managing Director, GM Canada | Photo: General Motors (Ryan Bolton)
Derek Boshouwers
Derek Boshouwers
Automotive expert
  • Over 5 years' experience as an automotive journalist
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