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General Motors to invest $560-million in Ontario’s Ingersoll plant

A row of Chevrolet Equinox vehicles at a dealership in the Greater Toronto Area in October, 2014.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

General Motors Co. will invest $560-million at its assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ont., to continue making its hot-selling Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain crossover utility vehicles.

The auto maker made the announcement Thursday in conjunction with the introduction of a new version of the Equinox the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto.

The investment will be made without financial help from the federal and Ontario governments, sources familiar with the auto maker's plans told The Globe and Mail on Wednesday.

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The move secures about 3,000 jobs at Cami Automotive Inc., which has been one of the most productive plants in GM's North American network. It has been running on three shifts producing the Equinox, which was the second-best seller in the GM lineup last month in the U.S. market, which is the destination for about 75 per cent of the vehicles made at the plant. The Equinox is also made at a plant in Oshawa, Ont.

Cami turned out 312,198 Equinox and Terrain models last year, up 1 per cent from 307,935 in 2013. The investment comes amid booming markets for GM and other auto makers in both the United States and Canada.

Sales hit a record 1.8 million vehicles in Canada last year and analysts are forecasting that U.S. sales will top 17 million for the first time this year since the recession sent GM and Chrysler Group LLC into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2009.

The move also comes after analysts raised questions about GM's plans for future investment in Canada as the auto maker complained about high labour and other costs. The future of the two Oshawa assembly plants is still under a cloud, although General Motors of Canada Ltd. president Stephen Carlisle said the auto maker is undertaking a costs study to determine whether new vehicles will be allocated to Oshawa.

No decision on future products for Oshawa will be made until late 2016, Mr. Carlisle has said, after the company concludes negotiations with its unionized workers represented by Unifor.

The union represents workers in Oshawa as well as those at Cami, which began operating in 1989 as a joint venture between GM and Suzuki Motor Co. Ltd.

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Parliamentary reporter

Steven Chase has covered federal politics in Ottawa for The Globe since mid-2001, arriving there a few months before 9/11. He previously worked in the paper's Vancouver and Calgary bureaus. Prior to that, he reported on Alberta politics for the Calgary Herald and the Calgary Sun, and on national issues for Alberta Report. More

Auto and Steel Industry Reporter

Greg Keenan has covered the automotive and steel industries for The Globe and Mail since 1995. He also writes about broader manufacturing trends. He is a graduate of the University of Toronto and of the University of Western Ontario School of Journalism. More

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