GM Canada announced today plans to make Ontario the centre of its efforts to develop the next generation of electric, connected, autonomous and shared vehicles.
At a press conference in its plant in Oshawa, which is now called the Canadian Technical Centre, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Steve Carlisle, president of General Motors of Canada, said GM Canada will hire 1,000 additional engineers over the next few years. Specifically, the car company will hire 300 new employees at its Oshawa plant and 700 at a new Automotive Software Development Centre in Markham, Ontario. The company also noted it will invest $10 million into its Kapuskasing Cold Weather testing facility.
“We at GM believe that this will be very positive for out customers, for the environment, and for the economy. At GM we believe the future of the automobile will be electric, connected, autonomous and increasingly part of the sharing economy,” said Carlisle. “Rapid innovation has become important for all of us. Our CEO, Mary Barra, says a strong connection to our company is to disrupt ourselves. Transforming GM will be easier with the next generation automotive technology.”
GM stated it will focus on three key areas: active safety and vehicle dynamics technology, infotainment and connected vehicle technology, and autonomous software and controls development.
A year ago, GM Canada execs started to visit Canadian universities and suppliers in Quebec, British Columbia, and Ontario to discuss new automotive technology opportunities. The goal was to better understand skills and new technology — such as security, AI, big analytics, environmental tech — that could possibly be adopted into its next generation vehicles.
“If you’re connecting the dots, you’re thinking about electric, connected, autonomous and shared vehicles. You’ll see a new, dynamic automotive innovation cluster is emerging right here,” said Carlisle. “We also see an opportunity for Canada could be part of something even bigger. Our Canadian software and technology work has made its way into the millions of vehicles that GM designs each year.”
“It’s great news for Oshawa, Markham and Kapuskasing,” Prime Minister Trudeau said. “It will help our goal of setting up a clean economy. The investments announced today will create good paying jobs, grow Canada’s middle class, and ensure a brighter future for all Canadians. Meeting with CEO Mary Barra at the World Economic Forum, I made the case for investing in Canada. I applaud GM for choosing Canada to be the home base for its global centre for advanced vehicle software development.”