Production of key parts of the new 6.2-liter LT2 V8 that will power the upcoming mid-engine Corvette appears to be moving from north of the border to south of the border – but apparently not without a fight.
Mexican automotive supplier Nemak had originally planned to produce the aluminum engine blocks and bedplates for the C8 engines at its facility in Windsor, Ontario, Canada.
However, Nemak announced in mid-July that it would be closing the Windsor plant and moving production to a facility in Monterrey, Mexico.
In response, Unifor workers at the Windsor plant have vowed to halt production there until Nemak changes its mind.
“Nemak is out of business until further notice,” union president Jerry Dias said this week, standing outside the Windsor facility. “We will be here until we have a solution.”
Nemak says it made the decision to close the Windsor plant because of decreased demand for the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine blocks it produced for the Chinese market and noted that even with the addition of the LT2 engine and a 3.0-liter LM2 inline-six engine originally contracted for Windsor, the facility would still be operating at less than 10 percent of capacity by 2020.
“Nemak is disappointed that Unifor decided to organize an illegal stoppage to our operations,” the company said in a news release, “and will pursue an application with the Ontario Labor Relations Board to cease Unifor’s blockade.”
Nemak described the strike as illegal and says it will contact the Ontario provincial government to have the picket removed.
Dias, meanwhile, says Windsor workers will remain on strike until Nemak changes its decision to close the facility before the end of 2020.
The Unifor Local 200 union leader described the proposed closing of the Windsor facility as “a betrayal of both the workers who generated their profits and the public they siphoned millions from.”
He accused Nemak of taking “millions in government handouts and posting revenues of over $4 billion world-wide” before announcing the plant closure, as well as another $3 million CAD from the Canadian government to develop “new powertrain lightweighting technologies” for aluminum engines.
No word yet on how this would affect 2020 Corvette production, if at all.
Update: Our original headline referred to the facility as a GM Plant when in fact it is a plant run by a supplier to General Motors. We have updated the headline for clarification.
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