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Celebrating Canadian Car Production on Canada Day

Photo Credit: Chris Nagy

Members within a group that now totals hundreds of thousands of Canadians, auto workers are receiving a well-earned day off for Canada Day. Numerous automobile production facilities in Canada are recognized on a global scale for building solid vehicles. In 2014, Canada has entered its 115th year of major automobile production. Ford Motor Company is the longest, continuous foreign partner for manufacturing vehicles north of the 49th parallel closing in on 110 years. Besides the major auto companies, this country contains a bundle of hardworking suppliers. After 115 years, the presence of major auto companies in Canada has been a source of pride but also a threatened occupation. There has been some sources of optimism

For reflection this Canada Day, I have decided to show off the major auto companies' existence in our great country.

Just one quick thing I would like to make clear before you read this list, I am truly disappointed by the quality of the information provided by General Motors. The other Detroit Three automakers provided excellent and detailed information. GM provided details of products produced at specific facilities but I needed to dig for additional items. Toyota also provided an overall count of 8,000 workers but did not break down their numbers at specific plants.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Photo Credit: Chris Nagy

Brampton Assembly

First year of production: 1986
Workers Employed: 3,437
Products: Chrysler 300C, Dodge Charger, Dodge Challenger and Lancia Thema

Future: A plant inherited from Chrysler Corporation's acquisition of AMC in the 1980s, Brampton Assembly has become a pivotal in supplying large Chrysler and Dodge brand cars to the North American marketplace. For international markets, a rebadged Chrysler 300C leaves the Brampton plant under the guise of the Lancia Thema. The future of Chrysler production in Canada is questionable. Earlier this year, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, under the guidance of president Sergio Marchionne, attracted headlines after reports they wanted 700 million dollars in Canadian government aid. Chrysler later withdrew their request but not before Marchionne issued a stern tune in a keynote speech at the 2014 Canadian International AutoShow.

Windsor Assembly
Windsor, Ontario

First year of production: 1928
Works Employed: 4,783
Products: Dodge Grand Caravan, Chrysler Town & Country, Ram Cargo Van

Future: Production at the Windsor Assembly plant is in doubt after the 2016 model year. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is slated to discontinue the current generation minivan in less than two years.  

Etobicoke Casting
Toronto, Ontario

First year of production: 1942
Workers Employed: 522
Products: Aluminum die casings and pistons

Future: A lesser known part of Chrysler's Canadian presence, the Etobicoke Casting plant has been part of the company since the 1960s. Through a 27.2-million dollar investment made in 2010, the plant had recently begun manufacturing cross-members for Chrysler vehicles.

Ford Motor Company of Canada

Photo Credit: Chris Nagy

Oakville Assembly
Oakville, Ontario

First year of production: 1953
Workers Employed: 3,142
Products: Ford Edge, Ford Flex, Lincoln MKX, Lincoln MKT

Future: At the 2014 Canadian International AutoShow, Ford Motor Company formally declared the new Edge crossover will be Canadian-built in Oakville. The announcement securing the future for the Oakville Assembly plant and its workers. Helping to make the deal possible was 142 million dollars in government aid.

Essex Engine
Windsor, Ontario

First year of production: 1981
Workers Employed: 825
Products: 5.0-Liter Modular V-8 Engine

Future: From the time the Essex Engine plant opened until 2007, the Canadian facility produced a line-up of V-6 engines. Today, Ford's Essex Engine produces the Modular V-8 engine best-known as the high-performance powerplant for the Mustang. The new-generation Ford Mustang GT introduced for the 2015 model year will continue to prominently feature the Canadian-made V-8 engine.

Windsor Engine
Windsor, Ontario

First year of production: 1923
Workers Employed: 319
Products: 5.4-Liter V-8 and 6.8-Liter V-10 Engine

Future: The Windsor Engine facility is Ford's oldest operating plant. The plant's biggest claim to fame was the Windsor engine block built from 1962 to 2001 powering some of the most memorable Fords during that era. Most recently, Windsor Engine has been constructing engines for the F-150 truck and Ford's Super Duty line.

General Motors of Canada

Photo Credit: Chris Nagy

CAMI Automotive
Ingersoll, Ontario

First year of production: 1989
Workers Employed: About 3,000
Products: Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain

Future: The saving grace for General Motors' Canadian automotive production has been the CAMI Automotive facility. Originally developed as a joint venture between GM and Suzuki founded in 1986, the plant initially built subcompact utility vehicle and cars. The CAMI Automotive assembly line was shifted to small crossover vehicle production in 2004 that has kept the plant operating

Oshawa Assembly
Oshawa, Ontario

First year of production: 1953
Workers Employed: About 4,000
Products: Buick Regal, Cadillac XTS and Chevrolet Camaro (Chevrolet Impala Limited and Equinox on Consolidated Line)

Future: The Oshawa Assembly plant has been repeatedly recognized by J.D. Power and Associates over the past 15 years. Despite awards and a historical connection in the community going back to the days of R.S. McLaughlin, this manufacturing facility has been downsized during the past decade as full-sized pickup truck was moved away. The plant and Oshawa received a massive lifeline when the returning Chevrolet Camaro was announced for its production lines. Sadly, GM will move construction of the Camaro away from Oshawa in 2015 to Lansing, Michigan. Production on the Consolidated Line has been slated to run until 2016 resulting to the likely closure of the plant barring new developments. A General Motors metal plant is also close to Oshawa Assembly.

St. Catharines Powertrain
St. Catharines, Ontario

First year of production: 1954
Workers Employed: Over 1,400
Products: Various V-6 and V-8 engines as well as components, six-speed automatic transmission

Future: The St Catharines Powertrain continues to produce a number of major components to important cars and trucks. Despite the grim future of the Oshawa Assembly plant, the climate around St Catharines Powertrain has been happier and has even added jobs. The manufacturing facility currently produces High Feature V-6 and V-8 engines including the new EcoTec3 truck powerplants.

Honda Canada

Photo Credit: Chris Nagy

Honda of Canada Manufacturing
Alliston, Ontario

First Year of production: 1986
Workers Employed: 4,000
Products: Honda Civic and CR-V, automobile engines

Future: The Civic and CR-V remain popular vehicles in North America but competition has lured away some of the brand's thunder.

Toyota Canada

Photo Credit: Chris Nagy

North Cambridge Plant
Cambridge, Ontario

First Year of production: 1997
Workers Employed: See Above
Products: Toyota Corolla

Future: The 11th generation model of the Toyota Corolla was introduced late last year based on the E170 platform. Hot sales for the new sedan should secure Corolla production at North Cambridge Plant.

South Cambridge Plant
Cambridge, Ontario

First Year of production: 1988
Workers Employed: See Above
Products: Lexus RX Crossover Vehicles

Future: The South Cambridge Plant was the first location outside of Japan to build Toyota brand and luxury-themed Lexus vehicles. The first Lexus hybrid crossover was manufactured at the facility this past March.

West Woodstock Plant
Woodstock, Ontario

First Year of production: 2008
Workers Employed: See Above
Products: Toyota RAV4, Toyota RAV4 EV

Future: Plans had originally called for the RAV4 EV (less powertrain) to be shipped from Woodstock to California its Tesla-supplied electric running gear. However, Toyota changed its mind and chose to send the electric drive components to Woodstock. In May of 2012, the Toyota RAV4 EV became the first mass produced electric road vehicle to be made in Canada since the early part of the 20th century.


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