In a bid to get important products to the market faster, General Motors accelerated the timetables for billion-dollar investments at two Canadian assembly plants, CAMI Assembly and Oshawa Assembly.
But to do so, GM has taken unusual steps to get the plants up and running sooner.
In July, GM confirmed that German supplier Kuka will handle initial production of GM's new EV600 electric commercial van at a plant in Michigan in an effort to fulfill an order from FedEx. GM will then end production of the Chevrolet Equinox at CAMI, in Ingersoll, Ontario, in April and begin full EV600 production there in November 2022 — about a year earlier than originally planned.
Kuka is expected to build fewer than 500 EV600 models by hand starting in October. After that, Kuka, a tooling producer that supplies assembly equipment to GM, will ship the equipment needed to make the EV600 to CAMI.
Doing that will "dramatically reduce the time needed to convert" the plant, GM Canada said in a statement.
"It's a unique situation because [GM is] launching new products in a new market," said Sam Fiorani, vice president of global vehicle forecasting at AutoForecast Solutions. "Electric commercial vehicles haven't been done, and they're looking to get them out as soon as possible."