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Canadian union sees solution to GM's Equinox shortage

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Canadian union sees solution to GM's Equinox shortage

Chrissie Thompson

Automotive News -- March 15, 2010 - 2:55 pm ET

DETROIT -- The Canadian Auto Workers has a plan for General Motors Co. to ease its shortage of Chevrolet Equinoxes and GMC Terrains: Build the models in Oshawa, Ontario.

North American President Mark Reuss has said GM may add production or reopen plants to assemble more of the crossovers, which GM assembles in Ingersoll, Ontario. Post-bankruptcy GM owns two idled plants that lack plans for products: Spring Hill, Tenn., which Reuss has called “a damn good plant”; and Janesville, Wis.

But CAW President Ken Lewenza says GM could add more crossover production at Oshawa, about 125 miles from Ingersoll.

“If you don't want to do bricks and mortar, we've got some more bricks and mortar down the street,” Lewenza said in a roundtable interview with Automotive News reporters and editors.

More than 1,000 CAW workers are on layoff at that plant, Lewenza said, although more than two-thirds are scheduled to return to work in the first quarter.

Lewenza said GM executives have responded to the CAW's suggestion by saying they're considering all opportunities to add production.

Company spokeswoman Kim Carpenter said, “We're not providing any details on those discussions.”

GM assembles the Chevrolet Impala and Camaro in Oshawa. In the first quarter of 2011, Oshawa will add a shift of up to 700 workers to build the Buick Regal sedan.

GM's Ingersoll plant is running on three shifts, plus about three Saturdays a month. Despite the extra production, the Equinox started March with a thin 33-day supply, and the Terrain's supply was 29 days, according to the Automotive News Data Center. Sixty days is considered normal.

Read more: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100315/OEM01/100319936/1261#ixzz0iHezTaQr

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