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Resurrected Oshawa Assembly Plant is Thriving

Chevrolet Silverado HD GMC Sierra General Motors GM Oshawa Ontario Canada Aseembly
Image via GM

With the retooling complete and production resumed, General Motors Canada’s Oshawa Assembly is thriving more than it ever has. The first Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck to roll off the newly restarted assembly line has reached its new home in rural Quebec. And moving forward, GM aims to build every Silverado 1500 and Silverado HD sold in Canada at Oshawa Assembly.

Production of Chevrolet Silverado HD pickups began in November of last year after a dramatic reversal that saw the shuttered plant reopened following a $1.3 billion rapid retooling. Following the turn around GM is now using more of the five-million-square-foot campus than it has in decades.

“It’s damn near the whole place,” GM Canada President Scott Bell told Automotive News Canada. “We are leveraging and using parts of that facility that we haven’t commissioned since the ’60s.

“When you’re starting a plant and you want to go as fast as we’ve gone, you’ve kind of got to minimize the complexity within the plant and the [product] mix,” Bell said.

Oshawa Assembly: Uniquely For The Chevrolet Silverado Family

Oshawa Assembly now has the distinction of being the only Canadian auto assembly plant to reopen after being completely decommissioned. Oshawa is also the only facility in the GM umbrella to exclusively produces the Chevrolet Silverado. No GMC Sierras here, just Silverados. Perhaps more interestingly, Oshawa Assembly will also be the only plant with the capability to build both heavy and light-duty trucks. The plant has already been churning out Silverado HDs for a few months now, with plans to begin Silverado 1500 production in the spring. As for the Silverado EV, production of that electric truck will remain exclusively in Michigan, at the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant that underwent a $2.2 billion renovation to become GM Factory Zero.

Oshawa was reborn and retooled in just one year, ranking it as one of the quickest resurrections in GM’s long history. More than 1,100 new robots, 300 miles of electrical wiring, and nearly 2 miles of conveyors were added in record time, thanks in part to the global microchip shortage. When GM’s CAMI Assembly Plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, was idled because of the supply shortages the company repurposed some of the plant’s staff to aid in retrofitting Oshawa.

Silverado production at Oshawa isn’t expected to reach full capacity until 2023. General Motors also builds Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD trucks in Flint, Michigan; while the Silverado 1500 is built in Fort Wayne, Indiana; and Silao, Mexico.

The GM Oshawa Assembly plant previously held the distinction of building vehicles such as the fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro, as well as briefly building the last-generation K2-platform Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 pickups. The Chevrolet Impala and Cadillac XTS sedans were also built there.

Written by Michael Accardi

Michael refuses to sit still, he's held multiple hands-on automotive jobs throughout his career. Along with being an investigative writer and accomplished photographer, Michael has wrenched on Fords as a dealership mechanic, worked with air-cooled Porsches in a small shop in Toronto, and Nautique ski boats in cottage country. Additionally, he was part of the Ford GT program at Multimatic, oversaw a fleet of Audi TCR racecars, and cared for Porsche GT3 Cup cars. Currently, he's working with a Duqueine LMP3 in the IMSA WeatherTech paddock, and a Tatuus USF-22 on the Road to Indy ladder.

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