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GM Extends Production Contract for Canadian Plant

GM will extend production on Impala and Equinox at Oshawa plant to 2016.

Responding to strong demand for the 2014 Chevrolet Equinox and redesigned 2014 Chevrolet Impala, General Motors has decided to extend production on the consolidated line at its Oshawa, Ontario assembly plant to 2016. General Motors was previously set on ending production in June of 2014.

Presently, Oshawa's consolidated line manufactures the 2014 Chevrolet Equinox and the aging, fleet-only Chevrolet Impala Limited, while the plant's flexible assembly line builds the 2014 Buick Regal, the 2014 Chevrolet Impala, the 2014 Cadillac XTS, and the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro.

This is welcome news for Unifor, the union previously known as the Canadian Auto Workers.

"It is a testament to what we've been saying about this plant all along — that the skills and efficiency of the workers at the plant make it worth keeping open," reads a statement from Unifor president Jerry Dias.

The extension to 2016 represents a big win for the Canadian plant, who suffered a significant blow amidst last December's announcement that production of the Chevrolet Camaro will change hands to Lansing, Michigan after 2015. This move will allow General Motors to consolidate vehicle assembly using its rear-wheel-drive Alpha architecture, which underpins the Cadillac ATS and new Cadillac CTS models.

President of Unifor Local 222 union Ron Svajlenko was optimistic in remarks made to Automotive News:

"The extension into 2016 gives our workforce some stability and again, we were going through a potential of layoffs and right now that's not the case, so that's very good news for us. As long as we continue to build vehicles out of that facility, we have the opportunity to remain in the hunt for any kind of long-term additional products that General Motors may need to build."

Despite General Motors CEO Dan Akerson saying last year that Canada is "the most expensive place to build a car in the world right now," it appears that the Oshawa plant's reputation for high-quality manufacturing has kept it afloat.

A statement from General Motors of Canada advised that "all scheduling adjustments are subject to market demand," which is yet another silver lining for the consolidated line's roughly 650 employees. If sales of the Equinox and Impala Limited remain high, it could very well allow the Oshawa plant to again dodge the dreaded guillotine come 2016.