Subject to ratification of a tentative 2021 agreement reached with Canadian auto workers union Unifor and confirmation of government support, General Motors plans to bring production of its recently announced BrightDrop electric light commercial vehicle, the EV600, to its CAMI manufacturing plant in Ingersoll, Ontario.

The nearly US$800m (C$1bn) investment will support plans to launch the EV600 late in 2021. The investment will enable GM to convert CAMI into Canada’s first large scale electric delivery vehicles manufacturing plant.

“Work will begin immediately to transform the CAMI plant. This will support jobs and transform work at the plant over the next two years from Chevrolet Equinox production to production of EV600s, serving the growing North American electric delivery solutions market,” the automaker said in a statement.    

BrightDrop is a new business within GM offering commercial customers connected and electrified products and services designed to improve the delivery of goods and services from the first to last mile. It aims to help B2B customers reduce cost of ownership, improve productivity and safety, and improve their carbon footprints and sustainability efforts. Its initial products include the EP1 electric e-pallet, a software platform for fleet and asset management, and the EV600 LCV that will expand the Ultium platform to commercial vehicles.

The new CAMI investments build upon other recent GM investments in Canada, including the recently announced nearly $1.03bn (C$1.3bn) Oshawa Assembly Pickup investments; an $86m (C$109m) product and $22m (C$28m) Renewable Energy Cogeneration project at St. Catharines; a nearly $135m (CA$170m) investment in an aftermarket parts operation in Oshawa; expansion of GM’s Canadian Technology Center, including investments in the new 55-acre CTC McLaughlin Advanced Technology Track; and GM Canada’s ongoing work in Oshawa to manufacture 10m face masks for the government of Canada. 

“GM Canada is engaged in discussion with the Ontario and federal governments regarding its new investments and looks forward to working closely with Unifor following ratification of the tentative 2021 agreement,” GM said.

The plant was originally established in 1986 as CAMI Automotive – a Joint venture with Suzuki Motor. Construction began in 1987. During its early years, CAMI Assembly produced shared platform models for Chevrolet, the now defunct Geo entry level car brand and Suzuki.  In 2011, the plant became a full-owned GM entity ending the joint venture with Suzuki.

In 2010, following the launch of the second generation Equinox, CAMI Assembly collaborated with Oshawa Assembly to boost output of the popular SUV. The shuttle program enabled CAMI Assembly to ship welded bodies to Oshawa Assembly where they were painted and processed for final assembly.

VIRTUAL CES: GM shoots for electric delivery segment