Car News

GM Announces Ontario Investment in Autonomous Car Development

General Motors today announced a plan to expand its engineering base in Ontario with a focus on the development of connected and autonomous vehicle technologies.

While other news outlets are reporting the move will generate 1,000 new jobs in Oshawa and Markham, both suburbs in the Great Toronto Area (GTA), we're more sceptical of the wording in GM's press release, which says its engineering base will "reach a total of approximately 1,000 positions" over the coming years. The automaker says it has begun hiring for the new positions, and will announce more details on a new Markham software development centre "in the weeks ahead."

GM also said it will invest $10 million in its cold-weather testing site in Kapuskasing, a small northern Ontario town located about halfway between Sudbury and Hudson Bay.

More jobs is good news in a Canadian auto industry that has taken a beating in the last few years as companies like Toyota and, indeed, GM have pulled manufacturing work out of Ontario.

GM says it chose Canada for this engineering push to take advantage of the cluster of universities, auto suppliers and high-tech startups in southern Ontario.

The news comes a few months after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Canada's Minister of Innovation Science and Economic Development, Navdeep Bains, met with GM CEO Mary Barra at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. That particular meeting centred around GM's Oshawa vehicle assembly plant, where the company builds the Buick Regal, Cadillac XTS and Chevrolet Impala sedans, as well as some Chevrolet Equinox crossovers; that's simply overflow production, however, as the Equinox is primarily built at the company's Ingersoll, Ontario factory. GM built the Camaro in Oshawa until late 2015, when that assembly line was moved to Lansing, MI.

GM has promised the Oshawa plant will stay open until next year, but has made no promises beyond that.