GM To Invest $245M In Canadian Plant

TORONTO (AP) -- General Motors of Canada said Tuesday that it will invest $245 million to build a new line of fuel-efficient transmissions in southern Ontario.

GM of Canada president and managing director Kevin Williams said the company's St. Catharines, Ontario, powertrain facility will be expanded to produce fuel-efficient six-speed transmissions beginning in early 2012. The investment will secure about 400 jobs, he said.

"Strong customer demand for our new vehicles is driving improved financial results and the rapid capacity expansion under way," he said. "Retail sales of our Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles are outpacing industry growth, up over 22 percent so far this year."

GM has managed to bounce back after the fallout from the global recession hit the auto sector particularly hard, forcing automakers to restructure under bankruptcy protection in the U.S. with the help of billions of dollars from governments on both sides of the border.

GM Canada shed about 2,600 jobs with the closure of a truck plant in Oshawa, Ontario, last year. It also announced plans to shut down a transmission plant in the southwestern Ontario city of Windsor this year, affecting more than 1,000 workers.

Since then, the market has picked up. In March, GM said it would add a third shift at its Oshawa assembly plant and increase production at its CAMI plant in Ingersoll, recalling more than 700 laid-off workers to meet hot demand for its Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain crossovers.

Late last year, GM also recalled more than 600 workers to CAMI and in November the company said it would add a second shift in Oshawa in 2011 to support production of the new Buick Regal and Camaro convertible, bringing back 700 workers.

In April, the Canadian subsidiary said it would invest $224 million in the St. Catharines plant to build new V8 engines.

In total, GM has announced $457 million in new spending in the St. Catherines factory, securing about 800 jobs.

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