The UAW’s strike against General Motors continues to impact the automaker’s global production despite the two sides having reached a tentative contract agreement.
GM has temporarily halted production of its new 2020 Chevrolet Blazer SUV in Mexico due to a parts shortage from the UAW nationwide strike, a GM spokesman said.
But the automaker restarted production of the Chevrolet Impala sedan in Canada on Friday.
It all comes on news that the automaker plans a series of electric trucks, including SUVs and possibly restarting the Hummer brand at its Detroit-Hamtramck plant.
GM halted production Friday at its Ramos Arizpe Vehicle Assembly in Mexico, said GM spokesman Dan Flores.
“Production of the Blazer will be down until the strike is done,” said Flores. “But production of the (Chevrolet) Equinox is running normally at Mexico and Canada plants.”
About 46,000 UAW workers went on strike at 55 GM facilities in 10 states at 12:01 a.m. on Sept. 16. They reached a tentative contract agreement with GM on Wednesday and have until Oct. 25 to vote to ratify or reject it. Its National GM Council voted to remain on strike until the contract is ratified by the membership.
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GM’s decision to build the Blazer in Mexico instead of a U.S. plant was a sore point with the UAW, as is low-cost Mexican production in general.
GM builds its top-selling SUV, the Equinox, at its San Luis Potosi plant in Mexico and in Ontario. Also built at San Luis Potosi is the GMC Terrain and Chevrolet Trax. Production at San Luis Potosi continues, Flores said.
On Friday, GM was able to resume building the Impala sedan at its Oshawa plant in Ontario, sending some 750 employees back to work. The Impala car production and production of the previous generation model GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado pickups was halted just days after the UAW’s strike against GM started.
The pickup lines remain down, said Flores, but GM has enough parts to restart production of the Impala and complete its built-out of it in the next two weeks. The plant is scheduled to shutter at year-end.
The Impala, along with the Chevrolet Cruze, Chevrolet Volt and Buick LaCrosse are being discontinued. All the vehicles are sedans and consumer sentiment has shifted to prefer pickups and SUVs. The Chevrolet Malibu sedan will continue, GM has said. But the fate of the Cadillac CT6 is undetermined, said Flores.
Days after the strike started, some 4,500 GM workers in Canada were temporarily laid off. That includes 1,200 workers at GM’s truck assembly plant in Oshawa, they remain temporarily laid off.
Oshawa’s stamping operation continues to run. It stamps sheet metal for Ontario’s CAMI plant.
Separately, GM plans to build a new group of premium electric pickup trucks and other vehicles such as SUVs at its Detroit-Hamtramck plant beginning in late 2021, said a person familiar with the plans.
GM is considering reviving the long-gone Hummer brand on some of them, the person said.
In its tentative agreement with the UAW GM said it would build an electric pickup and van, but “van” is a generic term for a variety of body styles, the person said.
GM declined to discuss future product other than to confirm it is investing in Detroit-Hamtramck per the tentative agreement.
The electric truck program, dubbed BT1, according to Reuters, is part of a proposed $3 billion investment in the Detroit-Hamtramck plant. GM has made a broad $7.7 billion investment in GM’s U.S. plants over the next four years, the proposed labor deal said.
Contact Jamie L. LaReau at 313-222-2149 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @jlareauan. Read more on General Motors and sign up for our autos newsletter.