TORONTO (CP) -- General Motors of Canada is searching for new vehicle lines to keep operations running at its car assembly plant in Oshawa, Ont., but has downplayed reports that an announcement is imminent.
"While we haven't made any specific product announcements for now, we're absolutely looking at products for the plant," GM (NYSE:GM) spokeswoman Patty Faith said Wednesday.
Reports have suggested GM could unveil plans as early as this week to add more car models to the flexible car assembly plant east of Toronto, which currently builds Chevrolet Impala and Buick Allure/LaCrosse sedans and will start making the new Camaro sporty car late this year.
However, Faith said she was "not aware of any timing for specific announcements" on further product lines.
"Typically we don't announce a specific product until it gets closer anyway," she said.
Rumoured possible products include a Cadillac luxury car and an update of the Chevrolet Malibu midsize sedan, though those models could be several years away.
"During bargaining in May we said we'd put a second vehicle in there (Oshawa), and then just lately we said there's a possibility for a third vehicle that looks promising, but we still need discussion on that," said another GM Canada representative, Stew Low.
"I think it's far too early to put definition and names around the vehicle."
The Canadian Auto Workers union is scheduled to meet with GM on Thursday to get an update on the company's plans for Oshawa, where GM announced early this month it would end production permanently at its pickup truck plant by the autumn of 2009.
The union has vowed to fight the truck plant's closure, and officials have said they wouldn't be satisfied with new car production unless the truck plant remained open.
"We got no indication of what, if anything, General Motors is going to do," CAW local president Chris Buckley said Wednesday.
"This is a meeting ... where we want to know what models are going to the market, and we want to know what commitment they can make to the city, for Oshawa."
Workers at the truck plant were told earlier this week that some shifts would be cancelled starting in July after a two-week retooling shutdown for the new model year. In all, the 2,600 workers at the truck plant will be affected, half at a time, by up to eight weeks of downtime through the end of the year.
GM, which eliminated one shift at the truck plant at the start of this year, plans to reduce the remaining two-shift operation to one shift during yet-to-be-specified weeks as demand for full-size pickups continues weakening in the face of high gasoline prices and a slumping U.S. construction sector.