‘More to Come’ in Canada After GM Shuts Plant, DesRosiers Says

(Bloomberg) -- General Motors Co.’s announcement Monday that it will close an assembly plant east of Toronto was a long time coming and other Canadian sites are at risk without new investment, according to one of the country’s leading automotive consultants.

Production at the plant in Oshawa, Ontario fell to about 148,000 vehicles last year from a peak of 940,000 in 2003, a drop of about 85 percent, according to Dennis DesRosiers of DesRosiers Automotive Consultants Inc. The plant is mostly producing cars -- the Chevrolet Impala and Cadillac XTS -- in an era when light trucks are much more popular, he said.

“If there is a ‘canary’ out there it has been slowly dying for quite some time,” DesRosiers said by email. “I am not saying that Canada will become Australia and eventually lose all its vehicle assembly operations but there is more to come, I just don’t know which plants and when they will disappear.”

Auto production has declined to about 2 million units, from a peak of 3 million, another sign the industry’s struggles are deeper than Monday’s announcement, he said.

“If Canada isn’t competitive in this environment, then it will see more of these,” DesRosiers said. “If we invest and remain competitive then we will not.”

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