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CAMI plant shutter Equinox/Torrent for new GMC SUV

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Cami shifts gears on SUV
General Motors Canada will assemble a new sport utility vehicle at its Ingersoll plant
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Mon, September 24, 2007 | By NORMAN DE BONO | Link to Original Article @ London Free Press


General Motors Canada is scrapping the sport utility vehicles it makes at Cami Automotive to assemble a new GMC SUV -- and another new vehicle will be added to the plant, automotive industry officials say.

GM Canada announced last month the Ingersoll plant will get new investment and a new product in 2008, but was short on details. A picture is emerging of one new SUV and another new vehicle, which may be a hybrid.

"It's going to be a whole new generation vehicle, a whole new GMC SUV," replacing the Torrent and Equinox, said Bruce Kavelman, plant manager for Rieter Automotive in London, which supplies the Cami plant with carpeting and insulation for vehicle floors.

"They are also talking about a whole new vehicle, but that has not yet been identified. It may be a small car, but there has been no confirmation yet."

GM Canada spokesperson Stew Low said there will be a new vehicle for Cami, but it's not a car.

"It is a new program. I will not say what segment it is in, but it is not a car."

Low declined comment on speculation it may be a hybrid.

"We are not giving any details as to what the future product will be at this point. I will say any news is several months away," he said.

As for its hybrid lineup, GM is moving aggressively into the hybrid market in 2008. It has the Saturn Vue sport utility vehicle, Aura car, Tahoe and Yukon sport utility vehicles, Cadillac Escalade, Malibu and trucks Silverado and Sierra.

Tim Carrie, president of the London and District Labour Council, has also heard Cami is getting a small, hybrid car.

"I just hope whatever it is, it is successful, that it gets the business. I think there is definitely a good future at Cami," Carrie said.

Mike Van Boekel, chairperson of CAW Local 88 representing Cami workers, hasn't heard details of what the new product is.

"They are keeping it very tight-lipped here," he said.

Whatever the product is, it is believed no new jobs will be added.

"I just want to keep what we have now," Van Boekel said.

Automotive consultant Dennis DesRosiers isn't surprised GM is being secretive, saying competition is fierce and it wouldn't take a competitor long to respond if the details are known.

"When they talk product, they never want to let the details out. It is the closest-guarded secret. They have to keep competitors guessing," he said.

Cami now makes the Chevrolet Equinox, Pontiac Torrent and Suzuki XL7 sport utility vehicles. Cami employs about 2,700 workers, 2,100 of whom are CAW members. Last year, it made about 170,000 vehicles.
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Maybe Chevy's getting the Captiva in addition to the Traverse, meaning the Equinox will go bye-bye?

Edited by ZL-1
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does anyone know why they are getting rid of the equinox? i guess my aunt test drove one and i guess she really likes it. i think she might want to trade in her monte carlo for one. which will be good for her since shes got a dog. but anyway if anyone can shed any light on this for me i'd appreciate it. thanks

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Just thought that maybe production will move and join the Vue when the Nox is redesigned in a year or two and that's when CAMI will start building a new vehicle. That would make sense.

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does anyone know why they are getting rid of the equinox? i guess my aunt test drove one and i guess she really likes it. i think she might want to trade in her monte carlo for one. which will be good for her since shes got a dog. but anyway if anyone can shed any light on this for me i'd appreciate it. thanks

It's got a great look, size, and basic performance, but is on the older version of the Theta platform, most models still have the pleasant, but not impressive, 3.4L OHV engine, and the general build quality/materials level isn't quite "new GM". In comparison, the new Saturn Vue, on an updated Theta platform, is smaller, and agreeably a bit heavy, but regarded as a MUCH nicer vehicle in overall polish, refinement, and performance. The new Equinox Sport and Torrent GXP models really help a LOT with their retuned suspensions and huge bump in performance from the OHC 3.6L and 6-speed, but again, they still aren't in the same class overall or have the "done" feel of the new Vue.

That said, they still do quite well and are popular, and there's no confirmation as to killing them, just that they're leaning towards replacing them with one (or more) totally new models before long. Actually, there was no real talk of the Equinox going anywhere, just moreso the mistake Pontiac Torrent version going away and being replaced by a new GMC small crossover model. We'll see, but for now, I think the Equinox is here to stay, just maybe due for a full re-do before long, as other companion models come.

Edited by caddycruiser
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But maybe not at CAMI, after all the other TE's will be built in Mexico, and the Captiva (already a much better, near-compact crossover) is built in Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, and in future Russia (already in a temporary plant).

Edited by thegriffon
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Maybe Chevy's getting the Captiva in addition to the Traverse, meaning the Equinox will go bye-bye?

My choice would be to replace the Equinox near term with the Captiva (under the Equinox name) and position a new TE product similar in size to the current Equinox as a true midsize crossover to compete with the volume midsize models such as the Edge, Highlander and Pilot. No matter how good and profitable, the Lambda's will never make the volume of the true midsize and compact crossovers.
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thanks caddycruiser....i dont know if shes gonna get one, but like i said i think it'd be better for her having a dog than her current car. that all leaves me to wonder tho what are they gonna do with the equinox if theyre not gonna get rid of it entirely.

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My choice would be to replace the Equinox near term with the Captiva (under the Equinox name) and position a new TE product similar in size to the current Equinox as a true midsize crossover to compete with the volume midsize models such as the Edge, Highlander and Pilot. No matter how good and profitable, the Lambda's will never make the volume of the true midsize and compact crossovers.

I'm thinking a swb/lwb TE successor to the Captiva, if possible, would be an interesting idea, much like what Toyota does with the RAV4. If the US market ever starts looking for smaller models, it's much quicker to bring the swb version to market. Edited by ZL-1
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:twocents:

We lost a lot of Tracker customers who defected to Hyundai, Kia, Nissan, etc. because they thought the current Equinox was too big. Plus, payment-wise, we always had a $400 loaded 4WD Tracker, but the jump to the Equinox AWD is another $50. There are a lot of people (generally women or 'new Canadians') who prefer a gas-sipping 4 cylinder SUV. Even though I would get 5 mpg with a 4 cylinder SUV, the way these people drive they do get good gas mileage with small SUVs like the Tracker.

Maybe if GM would drop the MSRP of the 4WD Equinox from $30k to, like, $24k where it belongs, now that our dollar is at par, that may address the issue of payment jump. :rolleyes:

The Trailblazer is a dead dog. I want the GM-DAT small SUV to compete against the Hyundai, both in price and size, and a decent 7 passenger 'cross-over' to compete against the Edge, etc. The Equinox was a good 'stop gap' measure 3 1/2 years ago, but lately I see a lot of people cross-shopping against the Fords, which is good for Ford but sucks for GM.

In the land of $4 a gallon gas, the Tahoe/Suburban don't even rate.

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I certainly hope GM doesn't abandon the Equinox, or a vehicle of that size for Chevrolet.

I hope the second product is an H4/HX... It'd be very cool if Hummer came out with a Volt-esque plug in hybrid option for this vehicle too, just to give all the greenies a big F.U.

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shoot, you could bring in a new lwb TE at Cami as a new, more expensive midsize model, before you replace the Equinox with the current or NG Captiva.

Hopefully it's the NG Captiva, though that will take a while. The current Captiva doesn't seem that much better than the Equinox, though they could always improve it.

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I'm thinking a swb/lwb TE successor to the Captiva, if possible, would be an interesting idea, much like what Toyota does with the RAV4. If the US market ever starts looking for smaller models, it's much quicker to bring the swb version to market.

The Captiva is the swb version of Theta. With 7 seats its roughly the same size as the CX-7, Santa Fe and Outlander. The smaller crossovers GM has planned are based on the lwb version of the next Gamma (subcompact) architecture. As such they will probably be comparable in size to the Qashqai, Tiguan, Sportage etc.
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Ahh, no the Captiva is a larger 7-seat crossover but on the same wheelbase and with similar powertrains. the Vue is the Antara, the shorter 5-seat model with a better interior. Holden imports both under the Captiva name (Equinox was also considered) but they are very different vehicles. The Antara has recently joined the Captiva in GM's temporary Russian plant. Strictly the Captiva is lower-midsize to the Antara/Vue's large-compact.

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I would not be very surprised if a US version of the Captiva built alongside the Vue in Mexico succeeded the Equinox, while the GMC and a new "midsize" Chevy continued on the lwb version at CAMI.

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Not really. The Prisma Y is a low-cost crossover, nominally related to the old S4200 Corsa/Celta/Prisma/C2, and similar to the Ford EcoSport. The small crossovers planned are more refined rivals for the swb RAV4, Qashqai, Kuga and Tiguan on a new Gamma architecture. The potential is for crossovers ranging from subcompact hatches (2.5—2.6 m wb, 4.0 m oal) to a large compact wagons (2.6–2.7 m wb, 4.6 m oal), but at least two different wagons at the lower end of the compact segment (c 4.4 m oal), sitting under the swb Theta models, seem to be the idea.

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