General Motors’ Canadian unit is on the right track as far as its restructuring plan is concerned, but serious discussions will still be required before the struggling automaker qualifies for emergency aid, Canada’s industry minister has said.
Both GM and Chrysler units presented their proposals last Friday to the Canadian government to back requests for repayable loans to help them survive the steep industry downturn.
“We have to go through their numbers to see exactly what they have planned for the Canadian plants… but we’ve certainly got the skeletal structure of what they’re going to do,” Tony Clement told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, according to Reuters.
Clement also said he was encouraged by the additional information forwarded to him by Chrysler Canada over the weekend.
Chrysler, controlled by Cerberus Capital Management, had originally sent Ottawa a copy of the “long-term viability plan” it had submitted to the US Treasury earlier in the week in support of its request for aid from Washington.
In a cover letter, it said it did not break out a separate Canadian plan because the North American auto industry is totally integrated.
According to Reuters, Clement said the company had since provided more details about the models it what it would produce at its plants in Windsor and Brampton, Ontario, as well as more specifics about its overall strategy in Canada, where about 25% of its manufacturing capacity is located.
“I think that they (GM and Chrysler) realise they are at the precipice of non-existence as a sector, or at least a North American sector, and so I think they’re looking at this seriously,” Clement had said in an earlier interview with CTV on Monday. “They’re coming forward with some serious plans and we’ll be evaluating them over the next few days.”
Reuters noted that both automakers have said they would ask Canada to give them assistance that was in proportion to their manufacturing capacity in the country while GM pledged to maintain 17-20% of its production in Canada.
Neither has asked Canada for a specific dollar amount.
In late December, Reuters noted, Canada said it would provide C$4bn in emergency loans to the cash-strapped automakers. GM Canada is eligible for loans of up to C$3bn under the package, while Chrysler Canada is eligible for up to C$1bn.