GM to close Windsor transmission plant

May 2008 News, Transmission

General Motors Corp. today announced plans to close its Windsor transmission factory in 2010, a decision that comes amid contract negotiations with the Canadian Auto Workers union.

The factory produces four-speed transmissions, which are losing favor in the auto industry as car companies shift toward more fuel-efficient six-speed transmissions. GM, in a statement, said it was unable to find a replacement product for the plant.

"This extremely difficult decision is in no way any reflection on our excellent Windsor workforce or their outstanding track record in producing great transmissions," GM Canada President Arturo Elias said in a statement. "We have worked extensively with our labor and government partners but have been led to the unavoidable conclusion that there are no available replacement products in the relevant timeframe for this location."

The automaker told employees today that the plant is slated to close in the second quarter of 2010. The factory employs about 1,400.

GM last week began negotiations with the CAW on a new three-year labor pact.

The Canadian auto industry is under pressure to slash costs after years of boasting cheaper labor relative to the United States. A weak U.S. dollar and last year's cost-cutting labor deals between Detroit's Big Three and the United Auto Workers have cut the cost of building cars and trucks in the United States.

GM has about 15,000 hourly Canadian employees and six factories.

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