Still unable to reach an agreement on labor terms with Detroit’s Big Three automakers, the Canadian Auto Workers Union is making preparations for a strike starting Monday, September 17. That could spell disaster for Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors, all of which build popular models at Canadian manufacturing plants. If a strike does occur, it could halt production of at least 17 vehicles assembled in Canada — and production halts at powertrain facilities there could further affect U.S.-built cars. The CAW represents about 193,000 workers across Canada.
We rounded up the five top-selling Canadian-built vehicles that could be threatened by the CAW strike. Sales figures listed are for the first eight months of 2012.
First: Chevrolet Equinox, 151,027 sales through August 31
The Chevrolet Equinox has been a runaway success, and so far this year it’s the fourth best-selling GM car in the entire country. The smart five-seat crossover offers front- and all-wheel drive, and a choice between a 182-hp 2.4-liter inline-four engine and a 301-hp 3.6-liter V-6. But as Equinox production is headquartered at the CAMI Automotive factory in Ingersoll, Ontario, it could be hit if the CAW strikes next week. According to The Detroit News, GM only has a 41-day supply of Equinoxes, meaning a strike could quickly lead to a shortage of new cars on dealer lots. The good news is that Chevrolet recently added a small amount of Equinox production at its plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee.
Second: Chevrolet Impala, 124,920 sales
The Chevrolet Impala is one of the few new vehicles available with a front bench seat — so equipped, the large sedan can seat six people. There’s just one engine choice for 2013, a direct-injected 3.6-liter V-6 that sends 300 hp through a six-speed automatic transmission. A production stoppage at the car’s factory in Oshawa, Ontario, could quickly diminish stocks of the car, as GM reportedly only has a 25-day supply of new Impalas. Chevrolet introduced the all-new 2014 Impala earlier this year, but it won’t go on sale until 2013.
Third: Dodge Grand Caravan, 94,639 sales
Dodge essentially invented the minivan, and the modern-day Grand Caravan remains a top-seller. It even outsells its slightly pricier and more luxurious twin, the Chrysler Town & Country. Both models are built in Windsor, Ontario. The Grand Caravan is an extremely important vehicle — it’s the top-selling Dodge vehicle and second best-selling Chrysler Group nameplate overall — so a strike that hit production would cause big problems. The News says Dodge only has a 27-day supply of new Grand Caravans.
Fourth: Ford Edge, 84,216 sales
It may not sell as well as the Escape, but the Ford Edge remains an important model in the Blue Oval’s crossover lineup. The Edge is a larger vehicle with plenty of room for five passengers and handsome exterior styling. Like the Explorer, 2013 Fusion, and 2013 Escape, the Edge can also be equipped with Ford’s efficient 2.0-liter turbo-four engine, good for fuel economy of 21/30 mpg (city/highway). Ford also plans to introduce the Edge in Europe over the next few years.
Fifth: Chrysler Town & Country, 77,362 sales
Chrysler builds its Town & Country minivan in the same Ontario factory as Dodge builds the Grand Caravan. The main differences? The Chrysler offers more chrome, larger wheels, and more luxurious equipment. There’s also a price disparity: the 2012 Grand Caravan starts at $21,930 (after destination), while the 2012 Town & Country costs $30,930.
Muscle-car fans, take notice: the 5.0-liter V-8 engine from the Ford Mustang, the 6.2-liter V-8 from the Chevrolet Corvette, and both V-6 and V-8 engines for the Camaro are all built in Canada. (In fact, the Camaro also is assembled in Canada.) That means that if Canadian workers at Ford’s Essex Engine and GM’s St. Catharines Engine Plant go on strike, supplies of muscle-car engines could be in short demand. There are a few exceptions: the specialized LS3 for the Corvette Grand Sport, the 7.0-liter V-8 in the Corvette Z06 and 427 Convertible, and the supercharged 6.2-liter V-8s found in the Corvette ZR1 are all hand-built in Wixom, Michigan.
The Full List
Here’s a roundup of every new U.S.-market car manufactured in Canada. Only those built by Detroit’s Big Three are affected by the current round of CAW labor negotiations.
Ford Motor Company
– CAMI Automotive, Ingersoll, Ontario — Chevrolet Equinox, GMC Terrain
Sources: The Detroit News, Chrysler, Ford, GM, Honda, Toyota