September 21, 2016 / 10:30 PM / 4 years ago

GM to use Canadian plant to expand pickup output -sources

TORONTO, Sept 21 (Reuters) - General Motors Co will use its Oshawa, Ontario, assembly plant to expand production of pick-up trucks for the North American market if a tentative agreement with Canadian auto workers is ratified, sources familiar with Canadian labor negotiations said on Wednesday.

Oshawa’s manufacturing plant, which employs some 2,500 workers, will install component parts and do final assembly of pick-up trucks using bodies shipped from a GM plant in Fort Wayne, Indiana, the sources told Reuters.

Two sources said that Oshawa will do final assembly on the Silverado pick-up truck and one source said the work will begin in January, 2018.

It was unclear if or when the Oshawa plant will do full production of the pick-up and sources did not know what production volume the assembly represents. GM representatives declined to comment ahead of the union’s ratification vote.

GM reached a tentative labor deal with Canada’s autoworkers’ union, Unifor, early on Tuesday that prevents the closure of Oshawa and brings some engine assembly from Mexico to GM’s St. Catherines’ facility.

Unifor leaders are expected to outline details of the agreement to members Sunday.

The agreement includes “hundreds of millions” in investments, Unifor said. The car plant will become capable of producing trucks under the deal, it said.

Unifor President Jerry Dias would not comment on any new production for the Oshawa plant, but said on Wednesday that Oshawa will continue building the Impala and already had a commitment to build an updated version of the Cadillac XTS.

Sales of large pickup trucks such as the Chevrolet Silverado and the rival Ford Motor Co F-series line have been strong amid a recovery in the U.S. housing market and stable fuel prices. Analysts and company executives say the vehicles are among the most profitable for the Detroit automakers. (Reporting by Susan Taylor in Toronto, with additional reporting by Allison Martell in Toronto, Allison Lampert in Montreal and Bernie Woodall in Detroit; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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