The $554-million investment that General Motors Co. is making in its Canadian operations will be done without government financial support.
"We're not asking, we're not intending to ask, we're just proceeding with the projects," General Motors of Canada Ltd. president Stephen Carlisle said Friday. "We're proceeding with the projects full speed ahead."
The auto maker agreed last fall to make investments in its Oshawa, Ont., assembly plant, St. Catharines, Ont., engine and transmission plant and a parts warehouse in Woodstock, Ont. The spending commitment was made as part of a four-year labour agreement negotiated with Unifor, the union that represents hourly workers at the three plants.
GM concluded that it wasn't necessary to ask for financial help for these projects, but any future projects would be eligible for assistance, Mr. Carlisle said.
Sources familiar with the agreement the company made with the union last September said GM will spend $400-million to upgrade its flexible plant in Oshawa so that workers can perform final assembly of pickup trucks whose unfinished bodies will be shipped to Oshawa from a plant in Fort Wayne, Ind., that assembles full-sized pickups.
GM has not confirmed that, but Mr. Carlisle told an industry conference put on by trade publication Automotive News in Toronto Friday that the vehicle slated for Oshawa is a pickup.
He said after the conference that he's not prepared to identify what specific truck model is involved or what U.S. plant will supply the frames.
He confirmed that the vehicle involved is a pickup and that a GM plant in the United States will supply the frames.
"It's an existing pickup truck," he said.
The plan is similar, he said, to a shuttle program GM runs now that involves shipping unfinished bodies of Chevrolet Equinox crossovers to another plant in Oshawa from GM's Cami Automotive Inc., facility in Ingersoll, Ont.
The Equinox shuttle program ends this July and the Oshawa plant that now does the final assembly is scheduled to close.
Sources said the shuttle from the U.S. plant is expected to begin in November and a recent announcement by GM of $1-billion in spending at its U.S. plants included an investment in Fort Wayne to permit that plant to produce more pickup truck bodies.
GM's stance on government help for the new investments differs from that of its Detroit Three rivals Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and Ford Motor Co.
Fiat Chrysler chairman Sergio Marchionne said in Detroit last month that the company had not begun talks yet with the governments seeking grants to support more than $300-million worth of investments. Once those talks began, Mr. Marchionne said, he would ask for "as much as I can get."
Joe Hinrichs, Ford's president of the Americas, said in Detroit in January that the auto maker was in talks to secure financing.
On a separate issue, Mr. Carlisle said GM Canada will repay $220-million worth of interest-free loans to the federal and Quebec governments as scheduled on April 1.
The 30-year loans were given to the company in 1987 to redevelop its plant in Ste. Therese, Que. The plant closed in 2002.