UAW Local 589 members try to warm up while standing in the rain outside Flint Assembly while on strike against General Motors on Wednesday, October 2, 2019. (Photo: Ryan Garza, Detroit Free Press)
UAW's strike against General Motors continues to affect the automaker's global production despite the two the sides have reached a preliminary contract agreement.
GM has temporarily halted production of its new Chevrolet Blazer SUV in Mexico due to a lack of parts from the UAW nationwide strike, a GM spokesman said.
But the carmaker started production of the Chevrolet Impala sedan in Canada on Friday.
It all comes down to news that the car manufacturer is planning a series of electric trucks, including SUVs and possibly launching the Hummer brand at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant.
GM stopped production Friday at the Ramos Arizpe Vehicle Collection in Mexico, said GM spokesman Dan Flores.
"The production of Blazer will be down until the strike is complete," Flores says. "But the production of (Chevrolet) Equinox normally runs at the factories in Mexico and Canada."
About 46,000 UAW workers went on strike at 55 GM plants in 10 states at 12:01 a.m. on September 16. They reached a tentative agreement with GM on Wednesday and have until October 25 to vote to ratify or reject it. The National GM Council voted to remain on strike until the contract is ratified by the membership.
More: UAW got a good deal of GM, supervisors, experts say  More: UAW leaders send agreement with GM to workers for ratification; strike continues
GM's decision to build the Blazer in Mexico instead of a US plant was a sore point with UAW, which is also cheap Mexican manufacturing in general.
GM builds its best-selling SUV, Equinox, at the San Luis Potosi plant in Mexico and Ontario. GMC Terrain and Chevrolet Trax are also built on San Luis Potosi. Production at San Luis Potosi continues, Flores said.
On Friday, GM was able to continue building the Impala sedan at the Oshawa plant in Ontario, sending around 750 employees back to work. Impala car production and production of the previous generation model GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado pickups was stopped just days after UAW's strike against GM began.
The pickup lines remain down, Flores said, but GM has enough parts to start production of the Impala and complete it built-in over the next two weeks. The plant is scheduled to close by year-end.
Impala, along with the Chevrolet Cruze, Chevrolet Volt and Buick LaCrosse are discontinued. All vehicles are sedans, and consumer sentiment has shifted to prefer pickups and SUVs. The Chevrolet Malibu sedan will continue, GM has said. But the fate of the Cadillac CT6 is not determined, Flores said.
Days after the strike began, approximately 4,500 GM workers in Canada were temporarily laid off. It includes 1,200 workers at GM's truck assembly plant in Oshawa, who are temporarily laid off.
Oshawa's stamping operation continues to run. It stamped sheet metal for Ontario's CAMI plant.
Separately, GM plans to build a new group of premium electric pickup trucks and other vehicles like SUVs at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant starting in late 2021, a person familiar with the plans said.
GM is considering reviving the long-gone Hummer brand on some of them, the person said.
General Motors sold its Hummer H3 and other large trucks until the mark was liquidated during the bankruptcy in 2009. (Photo: GM Photo)
In his tentative agreement with UAW, GM said it would build an electric pickup and van, but "van" is a generic term for a variety of body styles, the person said.  GM declined to discuss future product other than to confirm that it is investing in Detroit-Hamtramck as per the preliminary agreement.
According to Reuters, the electric truck program, called BT1, is part of a proposed $ 3 billion investment in the Detroit-Hamtramck plant. GM has invested a broad $ 7.7 billion investment in GM's US plant over the next four years, the proposed employment agreement states.
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