Tuesday, November 24, 2020

GM Canada/Unifor New Labour Agreement Includes Revival of Oshawa Vehicle Production

Photo Credit: General Motors of Canada



While General Motors is recognized as a company rooted with the United States, the automaker has a strong connection to Canada. Initially entering into a deal to purchase Buick engines for vehicles sold by McLaughlin Motor Car Company in 1907, Canadian businessman R.S. McLaughlin gained a strong working relationship with General Motors’ architect William Durant. After the mutually beneficial Buick agreement, McLaughlin aided Durant in foundation of a new auto brand with Swiss race car driver Louis Chevrolet. The Canadian automotive magnate would not only be instrumental in establishing General Motors of Canada Limited serving as a chairman but was also an executive with the main company headquartered in Detroit. More recently, General Motors’ recovery from its 2009 bankruptcy included between 9 and 11 billion dollars in federal and government of Ontario funds.  

After a long intertwined history with Canada, General Motors had made many distressing moves in recent decades on their operations in the country. Despite gaining awards and accolades for assembling quality vehicles with dedicated workers, the auto company had trimmed production at its Oshawa-based assembly complex. Dating back to the production of the earliest McLaughlin-Buick cars, General Motors’ Oshawa facilities assembled what was thought to be its last vehicle at the end of 2019. Less than a year after a 112-year history of manufacturing vehicles appeared to have concluded, General Motors of Canada has now pledged to restart vehicle production in Oshawa as a result to a newly negotiated deal with the union Unifor.

In a three-year agreement that was ratified by 85 percent of Unifor members positioned at General Motors of Canada’s St. Catharines, Oshawa and Woodstock operations, this newest labour contract includes an exciting pledge to the construction of new vehicles in the country. The highlight of the Unifor/General Motors deal is a 1.3-billion dollar commitment to restart truck production in Oshawa. The Oshawa complex currently involved in the production of face masks in partnership with the Canadian government’s in combating the COVID-19 pandemic, new vehicles are expected to churn out of the plant in January of 2022 bringing 1,700 jobs to the area. When the Oshawa Assembly plant will be General Motors’ only facility that can be converted to produce light-duty and heavy-duty trucks.

Other investment announcements made in concert with the new labour deal includes a 109 million dollars towards the St. Catharines Propulsion Plant. In addition to maintaining production of eight-cylinder engines currently used in General Motors’ pickup trucks, large sport utility vehicles as well as the Chevrolet Camaro, the plant will also build a transmission used in the Chevrolet Corvette. General Motors’ Woodstock Parts Distribution Centre will also receive a modest investment to improving the facility.

The new labour agreement does not include workers at the General Motors’ CAMI Assembly Plant located in Ingersoll, Ontario. Currently producing the Chevrolet Equinox, the work force residing under Unifor Local 88 at CAMI operates under a different collective bargaining agreement with a four-year term scheduled to renegotiations next year.  

The ratification of a labour agreement with General Motors Canada concludes what has been a fairly fruitful series of bargaining by Unifor with the Detroit three automakers. Negotiations with Ford Motor Company of Canada resulted in a major pledge to build battery electric vehicles in Oakville while Unifor and Fiat Chrysler also ended with the announcement of new investments including new production at the Windsor plant. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

An Old Personality in a New Charge: The 2022 GMC HUMMER EV

Photo Credit: General Motors


Part of General Motors’ christening for their new electric vehicle lineup supported by new Ultium battery technology is being parted by two high-performance, high-style sport utility models. The Cadillac LYRIQ was unwrapped this summer but a second vehicle was teased since the beginning of 2020. Introduced in disguise in a commercial during the 2020 Super Bowl, the GMC brand would reintroduce a name equally famous for extreme off-roading prowess as it was for high fuel consumption. Although revived as a highly-capable modern off-roader, the 2022 GMC HUMMER EV will shed the gas-guzzling image of its ancestors.      

An all-electric super truck measuring 216.8 inches (5,507 millimeters) in total length, the GMC HUMMER EV is a radical four-door multi-terrain vehicle reaching peaks gasoline-powered vehicles will observe with awe. Operating on a three-motor e4WD drive system, the HUMMER EV’s maximum collective propulsion output is 1,000 horsepower and 11,500 lb.-ft. of torque (a lower output model as well as a two-motor HUMMER EV model will also be available). On a straight, paved path, the powertrain can launch the bold utility vehicle from 0 to 60 miles per hour (0 to 97 kilometers per hour) in roughly 3 seconds. The HUMMER EV’s energy supply is an Ultium 24-module, double-stacked battery pack. According to General Motors, the fully electric truck can reach a maximum range of 560 kilometers (350 miles). The Ultium battery pack can be replenished using publicly-located, 800-volt DC fast chargers that can provide drivers with 160 kilometers of driving range after a 10-minute charge. 


Photo Credit: General Motors


Quick on roads, the 2022 GMC HUMMER EV’s electrified performance is truly meant to be showcased in off-roading. Standard equipped with 35-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory MT tires, the HUMMER EV is designed to athletically battle off-roading challenges. An adaptive air suspension system available on the vehicle can be adjusted by up to 6 inches (using the available Extract Mode) aiding the vehicle as it works to conquer uneven, rocky and even shallow bodies of  water. Inclusion of Extract Mode with the HUMMER EV allows for a maximum approach angle of 49.7 degrees and a departure angle of 38.4 degrees. Under certain driving conditions, the suspension system will also automatically lower the ride height of the truck by two inches to aid aerodynamic flow. 

Protected by strong steel plates, the underside of the GMC HUMMER EV handles fierce off-roading terrain with advanced technologies. UltraVision, consisting of up to 18 camera views, includes underbody cameras at the front and rear acting as electronic eyes when travelling over rocks and other obstacles. Operating on a 135.6-inch (3,445 millimeters) wheelbase, the HUMMER EV shadows the road with a 10.1 inches (257 millimeters) of ground clearance.

In addition to the adaptive air suspension system, the 2022 HUMMER EV truck features a wide amount of technologies for drivers to adapt for on-road and off-road travel. Helping the sizable GMC HUMMER EV manoeuver is a 4 Wheel Steer system. While decreasing the vehicle’s stable turning circle, the four-wheel steering technology is also equipped with a feature called CrabWalk. CrabWalk on the HUMMER EV permits all four wheels to turn to the same direction. 

Going on sale the 2022 model year, the GMC HUMMER EV will debut with an Edition 1 trim. The HUMMER EV Edition 1 will be first to show a unique premium equipment group for the exterior and interior. A 13.4-inch diagonal infotainment screen, 14-speaker Bose audio system, power rear drop glass window, power tonneau cover and a configurable MultiPro tailgate will all be included on the fully electric truck. The 2022 HUMMER EV will also include General Motors’ Super Cruise driving assist technology allowing for moments of hands-free driving for motorists.


Photo Credit: General Motors



Another key feature on the GMC HUMMER EV is the Infinity Roof where available transparent roof panels can be removed and stored inside a front compartment (so-called a frunk). Adhering to a muscular off-roading experience, the 2022 HUMMER EV’s outer appearance employs a mostly upright windshield and massive wheel arches. Headlights and the six-bar vertical front grille are assembled in a trademark-defining style. As well as providing excellent nighttime lighting, the illuminated HUMMER front end features animated elements when the driver walks away from the vehicle or for when the truck is being charged. 


Photo Credit: General Motors


Canadian availability for the GMC HUMMER EV is slated for the fall of 2022. Pricing for the HUMMER EV in Canada is not currently provided by General Motors but the price for the upcoming vehicle’s trim levels has been posted for the United States market. Arriving first, the well-loaded GMC HUMMER EV Edition 1 has a starting sale price of $112,595 US. Only available for the United States, reservations for the initial Edition 1 trim of the fully electric vehicle have already been filled ahead of a fall 2021 release.

Three additional variants of the HUMMER EV are planned over several years. Equipped with the same power unit as the Edition 1, the GMC HUMMER EV3X has an estimated starting price of $99,995 US for when sale is slated for fall of 2022. GMC also plans a two-motor version of the electric truck generating 625 horsepower and 7,400 lb.-ft. of torque that will be offered to customers in the spring of 2023. With an estimated 300-mile range, the HUMMER EV2X wears a projected price tag of $89,995 US. A base HUMMER EV2 is planned to be sold in spring of 2024 for $79,995 US coming with high-end features including HD Surround Vision, Infinity Roof and Super Cruise.

The GMC HUMMER EV is joining what will be a stacked market of all-electric trucks. In the next few years, customers will have the choice of a fully-electric versions of the Chevrolet Silverado and Ford F-150, the Tesla Cybertruck as well as the Rivian R1T.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Fiat Chrysler Pledges Sizable Investment Into Canada With New Unifor Deal

Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada



More than ever, we’re aware that the world we know is subject to change. Adaptation during these changing periods is essential for individuals or groups to prosper for the future. Consensus and understanding are necessary to make the first steps along a better path that will ideally benefit everyone. With the automobile being an evolving machine that requires the successful interaction of many parts, the industry behind the construction of high quality vehicles must operate in the collective best interests for the present and the future. 

Since 1925, the company now known as Fiat Chrysler Automobile (FCA) and Canadian auto workers have assembled a fleet of great products. The Windsor Assembly Plant has served as the depended upon location for the automaker’s minivan since its inception while the Brampton Assembly Plant (acquired in 1986 after Chrysler Corporation purchased the American Motor Corporation) is currently the home for the Chrysler 300 as well as Dodge’s full-sized Charger sedan and Challenger coupe. On Thursday October 15th, the union representing 9,000 current workers for FCA agreed to a tentative labour deal securing the production at the two automobile production plants as well as the company’s Etobicoke Casting facility.

The three-year agreement between the automaker and Canadian union includes crucial financial considerations for workers but also commitments to all three major facilities operated by FCA in the country. Increased work is slated to be allocated to Etobicoke Casting towards the construction of components for the Jeep Wrangler as well as FCA’s nine-speed automatic transmission. For the Brampton Assembly Plant, 50 million dollars will be pumped into the location for the purpose of extending production of the Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger and Dodge Challenger. It’s unclear for how long the vehicles will be produced but could run up to 2023. Although rumoured for replacement several times in past years, FCA’s full-sized cars produced at the Brampton Assembly Plant remain steady sellers in North America.

The biggest news arriving after the announcement of the tentative labour agreement is an up to 1.5-billion dollar investment destined for the Windsor Assembly Plant. Currently manufacturing the Chrysler Pacifica and Dodge Grand Caravan, the Essex County plant will be optimized to create electrified vehicles. A plug-in hybrid Chrysler Pacifica (the Pacifica Hybrid) is already produced at the FCA Windsor plant but the upcoming investment touts the addition of battery electric vehicles as well as the addition of at least one new model for 2025. Added vehicle production at Windsor Assembly will also see the re-institution of a third shift offering up to 2,000 new employment opportunities.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ pledge for the future of the Canadian automotive industry follows similar labour negotiations with Ford Motor Company also resulting in production guarantees. The 1.8-billion dollar investment by Ford into building fully electric vehicles at their Oakville Assembly Complex include a 590 million dollars from the federal and Ontario provincial government. It’s unclear at this time if government funds are paired with FCA’s Canadian investment. 


Sunday, October 18, 2020

NSX-Inspired Acura RDX PMC Edition Sells As Fast As It Looks

Photo Credit: American Honda Motor Co., Inc


Acura’s top-selling vehicle year after year, the RDX crossover has allowed buyers a reasonably accessible entry to modern luxury that also excels in everyday driving. With 62,876 units sold in the United States in 2019, it could be difficult for a premium brand such as Acura to convey a sense of tailored prestige around such popular crossover vehicle. Drawing upon the mystique of the NSX hybrid supercar, the limited production 2021 Acura RDX PMC Edition is already seen by buyers as a fantastically vibrant means to obtain some differentiation from the common dealership fare. 

A specially-prepared variant that goes beyond aesthetic and trim details, the 2021 Acura RDX PMC Edition is the latest among a series of handcrafted models giving the Honda-supported luxury badge a new sense of prominence. First showcased with the TLX sedan in 2019, Acura has extended the precision performance halo of the NSX supercar and their Performance Manufacturing Center (PMC) located in Marysville, Ohio throughout their vehicle lineup.


Photo Credit: American Honda Motor Co., Inc



Sent to Acura’s performance facility in a body-in-white form, the RDX crossover configured to the PMC Edition specifications receives a robotically-applied, multi-layer exterior paint coating. The RDX PMC Edition’s Thermal Orange Pearl colour (lifted from the premium paint chart for the Acura NSX) is accompanied by a gold and mica mid-coat in addition to four layers of clearcoat. A paint process taking a total of five days, Acura PMC staff carefully hand inspects the colour application. The Acura RDX PMC Edition’s Thermal Orange Pearl outer appearance is paired with gloss black components. In addition to accent touches including door handles, upper roof panel, door mirrors, gloss black colouring is used to finish the special crossover vehicle’s 20-inch split 5-spoke wheels as well as for the Acura Diamond Pentagon grille framed by a body-colour surround. Also featured in the unique exterior of the RDX PMC Edition are black chrome finishers on the dual exhaust outlets. 

The interior of the 2021 Acura RDX PMC Edition is carefully curated with the best features of the RDX’s A-Spec and Advance Package in addition to other unique surprises. A full equipment of technology including ACURAWATCH safety suite, rain-sensing windshield wipers and 10.5-inch Head-Up Display is equal to the Advance Package trim while perforated Milano leather sport seats with Ultrasuede inserts arrives from the A-Spec featured in an ebony colour shade. Orange stitching is applied throughout the cabin as well as on the seats, floormats and the leather-wrapped, heated steering wheel. The PMC Edition model’s numbered serial plate on the center console is the final interior touch.  


Photo Credit: American Honda Motor Co., Inc


During the entire process of adding the tailored features to the crossover vehicle, Acura’s P.C. master technicians are involved in hand assembling key components for the exterior and interior. Aspects receiving this attention to detail includes the installation of the Acura RDX PMC Edition’s turbocharged 2.0-liter VTEC four-cylinder engine, Super Handling All-Wheel Drive, chassis pieces as well as electronics and wiring. Every 2021 RDX PMC Edition production model will undergo a thorough quality control inspection identical to the procedure before the NSX supercar leaves their facility.  

Acura is producing 360 units of the RDX PMC Edition in total with only 30 examples are destined for Canada. Canadian reservations opened on September 22nd and the special model sold out in just one day. Selling for approximately $58,000, each 2021 RDX PMC Edition will be moved to their respective Acura dealerships wrapped in a protective film travelling inside an enclosed single-car carrier.