Auto Analyst Calling Oshawa GM Plan 'Best Case Scenario'


"The best possible outcome" is the way Wednesday's announcement from GM Canada is being described by one of the country's leading auto analysts.

The automaker has announced it will be investing $170-million to transition the Oshawa Assembly Plant from manufacturing vehicles to a stamping, sub-assembly and autonomous vehicle testing centre.

The company announced last November that it was shutting down the Oshawa plant by the end of 2019 to focus on the autonomous vehicle market.

The new investment is expected save 300 of the approximately 2,600 union jobs at the facility.

President of DesRosiers Automotive Consultants, Dennis DesRosiers is calling this the best possible outcome compared to what was planned for the plant.

"It could have been a lot easier for them to just walk. That's what happened in every other case that I'm aware of across North America. You close a plant and the workers are on their own. General Motors is there big time, helping the workers and putting more activity, particularly the test track, it's very positive," he told AM800's The Afternoon News.

DesRosiers says while there will be fewer employees, these jobs are more stable.

"Component jobs are safer than assembly jobs. Assembly tends to get moved around a lot. The automotive parts sector is stable. So that gives fairly long-term stability to those 300 workers," he says.

DesRosiers calls the technology sector the way of the future.

"Quite frankly, the future of the auto industry is the six inches between our ears. So focusing on the intellectual side of the industry, that's putting more capability to research, design, development, testing autonomous electric vehicles and things like that, is exactly where they need to be," he says.

Unifor President Jerry Dias says it's not perfect and he's still not happy, but this is something that is going to sustain some jobs for the long-term.