General Motors' decision to build the new Chevy Blazer in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico, was highly controversial. The company has fired from union officials, politicians and consumers to start Blazer production in Mexico after shutting down US plants and laying off workers. Now the facility that has been a standout for United Auto Workers when it struggles to protect union jobs in Lordstown and Detroit-Hamtramck has been idle because of the strike.
A spokesman for GM speaks to The Detroit Free Press said Friday that the company is temporarily halting production of the Chevy Blazer in 2020 due to a lack of parts due to the ongoing UAW strike. Although a preliminary agreement has been reached, the strike does not end until the agreement has been ratified by union members. It is expected later this week.
The plant itself has run through the month-long strike since the workers are not represented by the UAW. But the use of cheaper labor in Mexico is one of the most contentious parts of UAW's relationship with GM, as the company chose to build the Blazer in Ramos Arizpe instead of a vacancy in the United States such as Lordstown. GM, for its part, says the company was planning to build the Blazer in Mexico before canceling Cruze and setting the future for the current Lordstown plant.
But even manufacturing plants outside the United States have hurt the strike. Without the supply of American-built parts, even plants in Mexico and Canada have been forced offline. The Ramos Arizpe plant is not out of the game yet, as the plant is still grinding out Chevy Equinoxes.
Oddly enough, GM also said it brought the production of Chevy Impala in Ontario, Canada back online. The plant, which is scheduled to close when a number of GM cars are canceled, will apparently be able to complete Impala production without relying on additional parts from the plants on strike. Per Freep :
On Friday, GM was able to continue to build the Impala sedan at the Oshawa plant in Ontario and send about 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 at year-end.
Impala, along with the Chevrolet Cruze, Chevrolet Volt and Buick LaCrosse, is 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.
Despite the small goodness of Impala production, GM is definitely ready for the strike to be over. The company was forced to stop truck production last week, and now Blazer is pausing, while all US plants have been down for a month.
While the company had a large supply of dealer lots at the beginning of the strike, they now face the huge expense of getting their complex supply chain back to full capacity in key months for car sales.