Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Interesting Facts About General Motors of Canada

During the mid 19th century, Robert McLaughlin, a farmer by trade, self taught himself the art of carriage making. His first project was a horse drawn sleigh fashioned from a picture he saw in an old catalog.

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His second project was another sleigh for a neighbor who saw the first sleigh as it was being made. From this humble beginning, McLaughlin learned how to fashion wood, iron and leather to design and make horse drawn wagons and carriages. Carriage making eventually grew into several branches throughout Canada, starting in Oshawa, Ontario, known as The Company.

McLaughlin had three sons. John went on to earn a degree in chemistry and founded the Canada Dry Company. The other two sons, Sam and George, became partners in the McLaughlin Carriage Company.

After a ride in the horseless carriage of the company bookkeeper, the brothers began pursuing an engine they could mount into a carriage and join the automobile industry. An agreement with the Buick Motor Company in 1908 created the McLaughlin Motor Car Company. They made 154 automobiles their first year.

In 1909, a Buick car was the winner at the first Indianapolis 500 race and Buick sales rocketed in the United States and Canada. In 1915, Louis Chevrolet, a race car driver from France, won the Indy 500 with his modified Buick which became known as the Chevrolet. The Oldsmobile became a part of Buick production in America, so by 1915, the Chevrolet, Oldsmobile and Buick line of cars united and became known as General Motors.

Meanwhile in Oshawa, Ontario, Sam and George convinced their father to close the horse drawn carriage division and open a production line for Chevrolet automobiles along with the Buick line.

General Motors bought McLaughlin Motor Car Company in 1918 with the stipulation the brothers continue operating the Canada division. Sam and George served until their retirement in 1948, and Sam served as the chairman of the board until his death at age 100 in 1972. By 1938, one million cars had been produced at the Canada GM plant. Currently, one million cars are produced annually at Canada GM.

Two trade agreements, the Canada-U.S. Automotive Products Trade Agreement (AutoPact) of 1965 and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) of 1994, encouraged increase production capacity of GM Canada. During the 1980s, GM Canada became the most modern, integrated vehicle manufacturer in North America at the Oshawa plant, GM Autoplex, and ninth in world production of automobiles.

Presently, over 9000 people are employed by General Motors of Canada Limited . The dealer network of General Motors of Canada Limited employs over 23,000 people throughout Canada.

GMCL is a leader in automotive design and engineering plus conducts development activities with leading Canadian research institutes and universities in green technologies including the development of an electric vehicle and testing the affect of cold weather conditions on their full line of vehicles.