General Motors' decision to build the new Chevy Blazer in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico was highly controversial. The company set fire to trade union officials, politicians and consumers for having taken over Blazer's production in Mexico after shutting down US plants and dismissing workers. Now the plant, which was a sticking point for the United Auto Workers as it struggles to protect union jobs in Lordstown and Detroit-Hamtramck, has been decommissioned because of the strike. Press announced on Friday that the company is halting production Wait to temporarily discontinue Chevy Blazer in 2020 as a result of the UAW's continuing strike on spare parts. Although a preliminary agreement has been reached, the strike will not end until the union members have ratified the agreement. This is expected later this week.
The factory itself was operating throughout the strike as its workers are not represented by the UAW. However, the use of cheaper labor in Mexico is one of the most controversial points in the UAW's relationship with GM, as the company wanted to build the blazer in Ramos Arizpe rather than in a decommissioned facility in the US like Lordstown. GM, for its part, says the company made plans to build the Blazer in Mexico before canceling the Cruze and questioning the future of the Lordstown factory.
But also production facilities outside the USA suffer from the strike. Without the supply of parts from the US even plants in Mexico and Canada have gone offline. However, the Ramos Arizpe plant is not out of the game as it still produces Chevy Equinoxes.
Strangely enough, GM also announced that it would restart production of the Chevy Impala in Ontario, Canada. The plant, which is scheduled to shut down when a slew of GM vehicles fail, ought to be able to stop Impala production without relying on additional parts from striking facilities. According to Freep :
GM was able to resume construction of the Impala limousine at its Oshawa, Ontario facility on Friday, sending about 750 employees back to work. The Impala production and production of its predecessor GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado were discontinued just days after the start of the UAW's strike against GM's Impala and its completion over the next two weeks. The plant is to be shut down at the end of the year.
The Impala is discontinued along with the Chevrolet Cruze, Chevrolet Volt and Buick LaCrosse. All vehicles are sedans, and consumer sentiment has changed to favor pickups and SUVs. The Chevrolet Malibu sedan will continue, GM said. However, the fate of the Cadillac CT6 is unclear, said Flores.
A few days after the strike began, around 4,500 GM workers were temporarily released in Canada. Of these, 1,200 employees are temporarily dismissed at GM's truck assembly plant in Oshawa.
Despite this good news about Impala production, GM is definitely ready for the end of the strike. The company was forced to stop truck production last week, and now the blazer is on break, while all facilities in the US have been out of service for a month.
While the company had a large supply of merchant properties at the beginning of the strike, they are now facing the massive burden of fully utilizing their complex supply chain in important months for car sales.