General Motors’ plan to start building Equinox and Terrain vehicles in Mexico isn’t expected to threaten Ingersoll production of Southwestern Ontario’s hottest sellers.
Equinoxes and Terrains built in Mexico will be sold in Europe and South America, says an official close to the automaker.
Ingersoll’s Cami plant will continue to feed demand in North America, said the official, who declined to be identified.
“Equinox and Terrain will be built in Mexico to support the South American and European markets,” he said.
GM plants in Ramos Arizpe and San Luis Potosi will begin making the Equinox and Terrain in 2016 to ship for the 2017 model year, he said.
In June, GM announced a $691-million expansion of Mexican operations.
The automaker also is investing $250 million to expand Cami, and it won’t lose production if Mexican plants start assembling Terrain and Equinox, said Mike Van Boekel, chair of Local 88 of Unifor, formerly Canadian Auto Workers union.
“I’m confident our production isn’t going anywhere. They’re putting a huge addition on our plant. I’m very confident our long-term future is extremely bright.”
About 3,000 union and salaried employees work at Cami, making it the region’s largest employer. The plant is due to produce more than 340,000 Terrains and Equinoxes this year.
GM also makes crossovers in Spring Hill, Tenn..
About 18,000 Equinoxes have been sold in Canada so far this year, and 202,000 in the U.S. As for the Terrain, 85,000 were sold in the U.S, and more than 10,000 in Canada, says sales tracker goodcarbadcar.net.
“It makes sense” GM will look to new plants to feed the European and South American markets, given Cami is running at capacity, said Tony Faria, University of Windsor auto analyst. “Mexico has trade agreements with South America and countries in the European Union. It makes sense to ship from there and build there.”
Cami isn’t losing production.
“Ingersoll is a modern plant with good productivity and they’re expanding there.”
GM builds the Chevy Sonic, Captiva, and Cadillac SRX in Ramos Arizpe and the Chevy Aveo, Trax and Tracker in San Luis Potosi.
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Cami assembly plant by the numbers
3K: Plant workers
340K: Vehicles produced annually in Ingersoll
18K: Equinoxes sold in Canada this year
10K: Terrains sold in Canada this year