Some of the General Motors assembly line workers in Oshawa have been there for years. Many of them buy and drive the very cars they make.
But now that the Oshawa plant will close next year, GM dealerships may lose those loyal customers and upend their bottom line.
“If GM pulls out of Oshawa, I doubt you’ll see another person on that shop floor buy another GM vehicle,” said Cory Weir, GM assembly line worker.
Cory Weir works on the GM line and currently drives a 2012 Chevy Impala that was built in Oshawa — a car he could have had a hand in building.
“There’s about a 50 per cent chance that I built part of this car,” said Weir. “If I didn’t, I certainly know the guy who did.”
But he probably won’t buy GM again.
“If your neighbor or your cousin said, ‘Hey, I bought this great GM car built here in Oshawa,’ that’s the best marketing tool that there is,” said Weir. “Certainly my family members that have watched me go through this with my family here, they’ll never purchase GM,”
Political Science assistant professor at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Scott Aquanno believes last weeks GM bombshell has caused loyalty to waiver.
“The idea of buying a GM because you’re supporting your local community and identifying GM as part of the local community, that gets lost in part because of a decision like this,” said Scott Aquanno.
General Motors runs through Scott Westley’s blood too.
“My parents both worked for General Motors for 40 years and their dad’s worked for GM,” said Scott Westley, Gus Brown Buick GMC general manager.
Westley worked on the line in the summers while going to university and is now the general manager at Gus Brown Buick GMC, one of 10 GM dealerships in Durham region.
“We’re concerned, we’re trying to remain optimistic. When you hear people say ‘I’m never buying GM again,’ that is upsetting,” said Westley.
As for Weir and his colleagues, they’re preparing for the harsh reality of turning their backs on a company that has turned its back on them.
“It’s definitely going to feel strange next time I purchase a vehicle knowing that I didn’t touch it,” said Weir.