General Motors (GM) is to invest $170mn in its Oshawa, Ontario facility in order to transition the factory into an “aftermarket plant” as well as an autonomous vehicle test track.
As The Star reports, GM had initially announced that the plant would be closing, but it is now to remain open under its new remit. The plant will serve as a stamping facility, producing parts for GM vehicles, with the company saying that they hope to eventually produce parts for other manufacturers as well.
GM Canada CEO Travis Hester said in a press conference that he was “pleased to make the announcements today to underscore our long-term partnership and commitment to Oshawa’s sustainable future.”
Aside from the plant, the investment will pay for a test track for autonomous vehicles. Automotive News Canada reports that this will complement facilities GM already has in Oshawa and Markham, Ontario which develop both software and hardware for autonomous vehicles. Hester said that “we need to be able to [test] software algorithms in a safe way, and the test track is a perfect place.”
GM have said that the test track itself will spread over 55 acres, comprising two 1200ft long straights connected by banked curves.
The move takes place against a background of the industry trend towards gradually phasing out traditional vehicles in favor of self-driving and electric varieties.