General Motors announced recently that the next generation Chevrolet Camaro will be built in their Lansing Grand River Assembly Plant in Lansing, Michigan; meaning that for the first time since the end of the third generation Camaro, the bowtie-clad muscle car will be made in the USA. Needless to say, the Canadian Union Auto Workers are mad as hell over this announcement, spurring an strong, angry statement from CUAW leaders.
Since the introduction of the 4th generation Chevrolet Camaro in 1993, the Chevy muscle car has been built in Canada but when the 6th generation Camaro is introduced for the 2015 (or 2016) model year, the Camaro will be built alongside the Cadillac CTS and ATS – two rear wheel drive vehicles. On the other hand, the current Chevrolet Camaro is built in the company’s Oshawa Ontario production facility alongside the Buick Regal, the Chevrolet Impala, the Chevrolet Equinox and the Cadillac XTS – all front wheel drive (or AWD) vehicles. It makes no sense for the rear wheel drive Camaro to be built in a plant that predominantly builds front wheel drive models so it is a logical sense for the American automaker to build their well known muscle car in the good ol’ USA.
On top of that, in the close race between the Chevrolet Camaro and the Ford Mustang, critics of the Camaro frequently point out that the Mustang is built in the USA while the Camaro is built in Canada and exported. To many in the US who strive to buy American, the Camaro (and the Dodge Challenger) lose out to the Mustang simply because they believe that a true American muscle car should be built in America. The muscle car segment war being waged between the Camaro and Mustang has become a battle of inches so it makes good sense for General Motors to want to offer an American built performance car to join the Chevrolet Corvette that has always been built in the USA.
Regardless of the fact that moving Chevrolet Camaro production from Canada to the USA is good from both a marketing standpoint and a business standpoint, the folks at the Canadian UAW are pretty upset about this decision. Upon learning of GM’s decision to pull Camaro production out of Canada, the CUAW issued what can only be described as an irate statement.
“General Motors has once again shown a complete and utter disregard for its workers and also Canadians in general, whose tax dollars kept the company out of bankruptcy,” said CAW National President Ken Lewenza. “This decision will cause yet another devastating shock to the Durham Region and the country’s auto industry.”
In addition to Lewenza’s angry comments, the CUAW is demanding that GM replace those jobs lost due to the Camaro production shift on a one to one basis. On other words, the CUAW is demanding that for every unit of the Camaro that is removed from the Oshawa plant, GM builds that many of something else at the plant in an effort to ensure that no jobs are lost. GM has stated that they will meet the production targets agreed to as a part of the 2009 bailout loans but based on the tone of the two announcements – I am led to believe that this will not result in a 1 to 1 basis.
The good news for the Canadian UAW is that if they don’t like General Motors’ decision, they can go away from GM production and begin building Canadian vehicles. Oh, wait…there are no Canadian automakers so without the support of the American automakers, the CUAW has nothing. Based on that simple fact, it sounds like the workers in Canada should be happy to be building cars at all considering that they do not have a single domestic automaker in their country.
In the long run, the only important fact here is that the Chevrolet Camaro will soon join the Ford Mustang as an all-American muscle car when the 6th generation of the Camaro is introduced for the 2015 or 2016 model year. This move will continue to narrow down the clear selling points between the two top selling rear wheel drive performance cars as the two continue to go head to head in an effort to claim the rights of being America’s top selling muscle car. This will likely account for a black eye for the Camaro in terms of Canadian sales but regardless of how few Camaros sell in Canada – GM is guaranteed to sell more Camaros than the entire Canadian auto industry will sell during this decade.