General Motors of Canada president and managing director, Kevin Williams, on Tuesday announced a new C$245m investment for the St Catharines, Ontario, powertrain facility, which will be expanded to produce fuel-efficient six-speed transmissions beginning in early 2012.

St. Catharines also recently announced a $235 million investment to support next generation engine production beginning in 2013.  Together, these production investments will secure some 800 jobs at the plant. It’s good news for a country where the automaker shuttered a large Quebec assembly plant in 2002 and ended light truck output at Oshawa in 2009. 

“The assistance we provided last year to GM Canada has enabled its transformation into a company that is poised for growth,” said Canada’s industry minister Tony Clement. “We are encouraged by this further evidence that GM Canada is on the road to recovery, and its commitment to doing business in Canada.”

“Thanks to the [federal and state] support we received, we’ve transformed our business and have a strong foundation for success going forward,” said Williams.

“Strong customer demand for our new vehicles is driving improved financial results and the rapid capacity expansion under way.  Retail sales of our Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles are outpacing industry growth, up over 22% so far this year – strong confirmation that our products and dealers are connecting with customers in a very positive way.”

St. Catharines will supply six-speed transmissions to both the CAMI assembly plant in Ingersoll and the Oshawa assembly plant for the Chevrolet Equinox, GMC Terrain and Buick Regal. The new transmission is based on the proven design of GM’s current Hydra-matic 6T40/45 transmission, which has established a strong reputation for its refinement, durability and fuel efficiency, with over a million units in use.