Canadian Plastics

Foreign manufacturers to lead N.A. auto investments

While total vehicle production in North America will remain high and even grow over the next five years, the new ca...

February 20, 2006   Canadian Plastics

While total vehicle production in North America will remain high and even grow over the next five years, the new capacity will be added primarily by new North American manufacturers such as Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Suzuki, Mazda and Hyundai, not the Big 3, according to the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association (APMA). Recently, the APMA released its 2005 2nd Half Update, listing both good and bad news from the traditional Big 3 for the Canadian plastics automotive industry. Additionally, the APMA is predicting that most new growth for the next several years will come from foreign manufacturers.
Among the Big 3 DaimlerChrysler (DCX), Ford and General Motors DCX had the best sales performance in North America in the second half of 2005. Plus, it announced investments of US$749 million to its minivan plant in Windsor, Ont., and to its Chrysler/Dodge assembly plant in Brampton, Ont. The investments will add a new paint shop, upgrade tooling and new robotics to the Windsor plant, and will also go towards the University of Windsor/DaimlerChrysler Canada Automotive Research and Development Centre (ARDC); the ARDC covers 20,000 sq. ft., employs over 200 engineers and has placed nearly 200 co-op engineering students.
Ford announced the closure of its Windsor casting plant that is scheduled to be phased out beginning in 2007, but on a more positive note, has committed to an investment of US$200 million for engineering and design upgrades at its plant in St. Thomas, Ont. In addition, Ford has confirmed that the new Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX utilty vehicles will be built in Oakville, Ont.
General Motors Corp. (GM) has announced US$400 million in spending to expand the V6 engine capacity St. Catharines, Ont. and readying the Oshawa, Ont., plant for the next generation of its pickup truck. However, the GM plans to close one of its two assembly facilities in Oshawa, Ont. in 2008, as well as eliminate the third shift from the other facility in 2006. GM will also close its the St. Catharines powertrain components plant in 2006.


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