General Motors formally announced its next-generation Chevrolet Camaro will be no longer be built in Canada, but in the United States. That’s all well and good, but the big news is this is essentially a tacit confirmation that the next Camaro will share its platform with today’s Cadillac ATS.
The move will occur after the “end of the present model cycle,” which roughly equates to late 2015 or early 2016. GM’s release says the decision to relocate Camaro assembly from Oshawa, Ontario, to Lansing, Michigan was based on “lower capital investment and improved production efficiencies.” GM says this move allows the company to consolidate rear-wheel-drive vehicles in one plant, but we think there’s more to it than that. The Camaro may have been the only rear-wheel-drive vehicle produced in Oshawa, but the plant was responsible for assembling a variety of vehicles from a number of different platforms, including the present Chevrolet Impala, Equinox, and Buick Regal.
In reality, this essentially signals the next Camaro will – as has long been reported – adopt GM’s new rear-wheel-drive Alpha architecture. GM notes Camaro assembly will occur within the confines of the Lansing Grand River Assembly, a plant that has specialized in building variants of a single rear-wheel-drive platform. Constructed on the footprint of a former Oldsmobile factory, Lansing Grand River’s first product was the 2003 Cadillac CTS, but its manufacturing responsibilities eventually included the 2005-2011 Cadillac STS sedan and the 2004-2009 SRX crossover. Both models also made use of the same rear-wheel-drive Sigma architecture as the CTS.
Presently, Lansing Grand River builds both the 2013 Cadillac ATS – the first production vehicle to use GM’s Alpha platform — and the present 2012 CTS. The CTS is due for a complete overhaul for the 2014 model year, when it too will adopt a longer version of the Alpha architecture. GM notes the next-generation Camaro will be built alongside the CTS and ATS at Lansing Grand River; given the plant’s history of sticking to a single rear-wheel-drive platform, it’s quite easy to read between the lines regarding the next Camaro’s platform.
The move may be welcome for enthusiasts, as the ATS’ nimble chassis has been praised several times over by critics around the world (including Automobile), but it’s not as welcome for Oshawa Assembly, or the Canadian Auto Workers labor union, which represents employees at the plant. A release issued by the union says it is “reacting in anger and frustration” at the relocation of Camaro production, and is calling on GM to replace Camaro production “on a one-to-one basis.” Thus far in 2012, Oshawa has built 92,505 Camaros, which is about in keeping of previous annual outputs of 94-105,000 units.
GM’s most four-year contract with the CAW also called for the addition of Cadillac XTS and 2014 Chevrolet Impala production to the Oshawa plant, but as both models are also built elsewhere, it’s still unknown what sort of volumes Oshawa will produce. Presently, the Camaro accounts for roughly 1/3 of all GM production in Oshawa. GM, for its part, says it will “continue to meet the production targets agreed to with the Canadian and Ontario governments during the 2009 restructuring.”
Source: GM, CAW