The auto manufacturing industry in Canada has been steady in its strength over the past few years. Attracting big auto names such as Toyota, GM, Lexus, Mazda, Ford, Honda, Mercedes and more, Canada has many competitive advantages as a manufacturing country that the industry recognizes. With announcements of expansion in production that seem to come almost monthly, auto manufacturing isn’t going anywhere. This month, Business Review Canada analyzes the top brands in Canada and their progress toward manufacturing domination.
Spotlight: GM Canada
Manufacturing cars in Canada since 1908, GM has an experienced background in automobile production. The company’s rich history got its start with the McLaughlin family in their production of the carriage chassis. In the early part of the 20th century the company developed into McLaughlin Motor Car Company creating its original motor car in collaboration with Buick, titled the McLaughlin. Today, GM Canada has developed its operations toward producing Chevrolet brand cars including the Impala and Camaro as well as the Buick Regal with operations in Oshawa, Ontario. GM has invested heavily in Canada. In 2010, GM expanded its St. Catharine’s plant, a $480 million investment that guaranteed 800 jobs. Additionally in 2010, a $16.6 million national smart-car research network was created at McMaster University that was partly funded by IBM and GM.
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada
Toyota manufactures its cars at plants located in Cambridge and Woodstock, Ontario. To date, Toyota has invested $4.7 billion in Canada. Part of the investment was in 2008 allocating $1.1 billion in the launch of its Windsor plant. TMMC manufactures the Corolla, the Matrix, and the RAV4 and is the first and only factory outside of Japan to produce a Lexus, specifically the RX 350. Toyota has manufactured more than four million Canadian built vehicles since starting its operations in 1988 and is one of the major players of the Canadian auto industry.
Ford Motor Company of Canada
Featuring a rich and incredible history, Ford has been in Canada since 1904. Since 2008, Ford has invested $590 million in Windsor, Ontario. Part of that investment, Ford allocated funds toward revamping its Essex Engine Plan and upgrades to its advanced powertrain focused R&D centre. Other facilities of Ford are located in Oakville and St. Thomas, Ontario. Manufacturing Ford and Lincoln vehicles in Canada, current cars produced include Ford’s Crown Victoria, Edge and Flex as well as the Lincoln Town Car, MKX and MKT.
Honda has been manufacturing its vehicles in Canada since 1986, starting with the Honda Accord. The first Japanese automobile manufacturer to establish operations in Canada, Honda has become a premier manufacturer in the industry. Investing $2.6 billion, Honda has produced more than five million cars in Canada to date and currently produces the Acura CSX Sedan, Acura MDX sport utility, Acura ZDX Civic Sedan, Si Coupe, and announced in November plans to manufacture the CR-V starting in early 2012. Employing 4,000 in Canada, the facility manufactures 39,000 units annually.
Auto manufacturing in Canada is a big industry and the largest and leading manufacturing sector in the nation. In 2010, auto operations totaled 12 per cent of Canada’s gross domestic product reaching revenues of $68.5 billion, $51.5 billion coming from exports. Accounting for 17 per cent of North American vehicle production, Canada’s vehicle assembly capacity reaches 2.5 million units annually.