CN, CP auto volumes to benefit from GM, Ford Canada announcements

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Canadian National and Canadian Pacific logos
OSHAWA, Ontario – In a move that will benefit Canadian National and Canadian Pacific, General Motors Canada announced on Thursday that it planned to reopen its assembly plant in Oshawa.

The plant, which stopped building pickup trucks in December, will reopen in January 2022, GM said in announcing a tentative deal with Unifor, which represents Canadian auto workers. GM will invest $1.3 billion in the plant so that it can produce Chevrolet Silverados and GMC Sierras.

The Oshawa plant, located some 35 miles east of Toronto, is producing masks for use during the pandemic.

GM’s announcement will help boost the Canadian auto industry, which has seen production decline as automakers build more vehicles in Mexico. GM also announced it would make investments to expand production at its engine and transmission plant in St. Catharines, as well as a parts distribution center in Woodstock.

The moves come six weeks after Ford Motor Co. announced a tentative deal with Unifor to continue building vehicles at its assembly plant in Oakville. CN and CP both have access to Ford’s sole Canadian assembly facility.

Ford plans to build five battery-electric vehicles at the Oakville plant starting in 2025, and also will produce batteries at the plant. Ford also said it would invest in its engine plant in Windsor.

Some 1.92 million vehicles were produced in Canada in 2019, down 22% from 2012, when 2.45 million vehicles rolled off Canadian assembly lines, according to the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association. Over the same period, auto production in Mexico grew 31%.

In 2019, automotive traffic generated 5% of CP’s revenue and 6% of CN’s, according to their annual reports.
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