Driving the CANADIAN Economy by pfh17972


									                                       AUTOMOTIVE > > BY ROB BLACKSTIEN

                            Driving the
                                                     Faith, diligence and
                                                     accomplishment have
                                                     spurred Canada’s
                                                     automotive sector over
                                                     the last century

                                                     While often, and perhaps unfairly,
                                                     characterized as little more than a
                                                     “branch plant” industry, the Cana-
                                                     dian automotive sector has blos-
                                                     somed over the last century to
                                                     become the nation’s leading manu-
                                                     facturing sector; responsible for 12
                                                     per cent of the country’s GDP.
                                                        The Canadian industry has
                                                     flourished, thanks in large part to
                                                     the landmark 1965 Automotive
                                                     Products Trade Agreement-or
                                                     Auto Pact-which created a single
                                                     North American market for
                                                     vehicles, and allowed for the ratio-
                                                     nalization of the North American
                                                     market for vehicle production.
                                                        Experts polled by Canadian
                                                     Machinery & Metalworking also

                 1953                                1954
                 John W. Hetrick patents the first   Dofasco brings oxygen furnace
                 auto safety airbag; Jonas Salk      technology to Canada; Teflon
                 announces his polio vaccine         develops a non-stick pan; a series
                                                     of hurricanes kills 170 Americans
                                                     and 200 Canadians

JUNE/JULY 2005                                           CANADIAN MACHINERY & METALWORKING   91

                  A 1912 Ford Model T rolls out of the Walkerville Wagon Works. This small operation in a small town near Windsor, Ont.
                  would grow to become Ford Motor Company of Canada.

                  point to a pair of key events that           carriages” in Canada, this new               eventually sealed a deal with
                  brought Ford and GM north of the             entity, for all intents and purposes,        Durant that secured the right to
                  border and laid the foundation of            signaled the dawn of the country’s           build Buicks in Canada for 15
                  the Canadian automotive industry.            auto industry.                               years. The McLaughlin Motor Car
                     In 1904, farm wagon manufac-                                                           Company was born in 1907 and
                  turer Gordon McGregor raised                 GM COMES NORTH                               produced its first 154 cars the
                  $125,000 and signed a deal with              In 1906, Sam McLaughlin of                   following year. It was the dawn of
                  fledgling auto baron Henry Ford              Oshawa, Ont. met William Durant              what would ultimately become
                  that transformed McGregor’s Walk-            of the Buick Motor Company (the              General Motors of Canada Ltd.
                  erville Wagon Works into an auto-            man who would launch General                    That same year, the Packard
                  mobile producer for Canada and               Motors), and decided to purchase             brothers produced cars in St.
                  the British Empire.                          a 1906 “Model F” Buick.                      Catharines, Ont., and remained for
                     Located in a small town near                 McLaughlin had been searching             four more years, before selling the
                  Windsor, Ont., they are henceforth           for a suitable auto to build, having         firm and moving to the U.S.
                  known as the Ford Motor Compa-               deciding that his family buggy                  Around the same time, says
                  ny of Canada. While many inde-               business needed to expand into               automotive journalist and author
                  pendent Canadian entrepreneurs               this burgeoning industry. He                 Bill Vance of Rockwood, Ont.,
                  were already making “horseless               decided the Buick was it, and                there was a Canadian car wholly

                  1955                                         1956                                         1957
                  Vladimir Nabokov publishes “Lolita”;         The “Tonight!” show with Steve Allen         Lester Pearson wins the Nobel Peace
                  first version of Scrabble is released        premieres on NBC; Elvis Presley’s            Prize; Perfect Circle Corporation
                                                               appearance on the “Ed Sullivan Show”         produces the first automatic speed
                                                               sets ratings records                         control for automobiles

                     92   CANADIAN MACHINERY & METALWORKING                                                                               JUNE/JULY 2005

indigenous to the nation.
Launched in 1905, the Russell was
completely engineered and manu-
factured in Canada by the Canadian
Cycle & Motor Co. Vance says that
several entrepreneurs produced
small amounts of cars in Canada at
the time, “but the Russell was really
the first one that did any kind of
serious production.”
   Canadian Cycle & Motor Co.
(better known today as sports
manufacturer CCM) continued to
make cars until 1915 that tended
to be a bit more upscale than the
Ford. Employing the sleeve valve
engine, common in upscale Euro-
pean cars, the Russell was a much
quieter vehicle than the majority
of its competitors of the day.
   The nation’s auto industry, even
in those early days, was geared
towards exports, a trend that very
much continues today. For example,
Ford Canada shipped a Model C to
Calcutta, India in October, 1905.
   The industry continued to spring
up in other Canadian locations.
From 1906 to 1912, for instance, all

                                                                                                                                    PHOTO COURTESY OF FORD
the bodies for the Ford Windsor
plant were built in Chatham, Ont.
Still, would either Windsor or
Oshawa bare any resemblance to
what they are today had it not been
for Ford and GM?
   Ironically, a third Ontario city,
Orillia, might also be a key player      The latter 1940s were a hectic time for the automakers as they ramped up production
                                         to keep pace with a heavy post-war demand.
                 Continued on page 101

1958                                     1959                                         1960
1328-megawatt Sir Adam Beck 2            St. Laurence Seaway connects the             As the Quiet Revolution begins, Gordie
plant opens on the Niagara Gorge;        Great Lakes to the Atlantic; Buddy           Howe surpasses Maurice Richard as
Westinghouse begins producing            Holly, the Big Bopper and Richie Valens      hockey’s all-time points leader
atomic generators; Kaiser Aluminum       die in a plane crash; “Gunsmoke,”
introduces the first aluminum cans       the first all-colour TV show, tops the
                                         ratings; Ski-Doo hits the market

JUNE/JULY 2005                                                                            CANADIAN MACHINERY & METALWORKING    93

                                                              IT’S COLD
                                                              Gerry Malloy, automobile jour-
                                                              nalist and formerly an engineer at GM Canada,
                                                              says that the nation’s industry has played a key role
                                                              in the evolution of the car to where it is today - an
                                                              incredibly dependable piece of machinery that can
                                                              be operated in any weather.
                                                                  “It’s probably been invisible and you can’t put your
                                                              finger on a single component, but the fact that today’s
                                                              cars all over the world work in winter is a function of
                                                              the Canadian experience and the Canadian involve-
                                                              ment in the development,” he says.
                                                                  The roots of this development can be traced to
                                                              World War II, when military equipment was subject-
                                                              ed to testing in Northern Canada to ensure it would
                                                              work in the colder, European winters.
                                                                  After the war, GM Canada continued to perform
                                                              winter testing on its products in Kapuskasing, Ont.,
                                                              for a week or two a year. By the late-’60s, the pro-
                                                              ject expanded into a winter-long operation and in
                                                              1971, GM built a permanent facility. The other
                                                              major manufacturers soon followed suit, with testing
                                                              facilities in colder Canadian locales.
                                                                  “If you go back 25 years, if you could get a car to
                                                              start on its own without a block heater or something at
                                                              minus 30 degrees Celsius, it was a pretty rare occa-
                                                              sion,” he says. “Right now, I doubt there’s a car on
                                                              the market that wouldn’t start in a couple of seconds
                                                              in minus 30 Celsius.”
                                                                  It’s a standard we take for granted today, he
                                                              says, but it didn’t happen accidentally. And testing
                                                              over the years in Canada laid the groundwork for
                                                              this evolution.
                                                                                                                   - R.B.

1961                                 1962                                         1963
CTV is founded; Canadian Bank of     US - Soviet war barely averted in            Dana acquires Perfect Circle Corp.
Commerce and the Imperial Banck of   Cuban Missile Crisis; Chubby Checker
Canada merge to form CIBC            unleashes “The Twist” on unsuspecting
                                     teens everywhere; Dow Corporation
                                     develops the silicon breast implant

JUNE/JULY 2005                                                                        CANADIAN MACHINERY & METALWORKING     99

                                                  “    (The V-8) set the engine trend
                                                       for the next 30 to 35 years in
                                                       the North American industry.

                                         Continued from page 93                 border led to minor departures
                                                                                from the U.S. versions.
                                         in the Canadian automotive indus-         It’s a practice that continued
                                         try had it not been for a fire and     even beyond the Auto Pact to some
                                         the war to end all wars. In 1907,      extent, explains Gerry Malloy, an
                                         the Tudhope Carriage Company           auto journalist who writes a col-
                                         began making its first car, the        umn in the Toronto Star’s Wheels
                                         Tudhope-McIntyre, but a fire           section. As an engineer for 25 years
                                         destroyed its plant in 1909. And,      with GM Canada, he was privy to
                                         after shifting to military produc-     some of the stranger anomalies of
                                         tion during the First World War,       the industry. For instance, from the
                                         the company never returned to          early ‘50s through to the early ‘80s,
                                         complete automobile production.        Pontiacs sold in Canada essentially
                                                                                were Chevys under the body. “A
                                         UNIQUE CANADIAN MODELS                 Canadian Pontiac Parisienne, for
                                         From the very outset of the auto       example, looked like a U.S. Pontiac
                                         industry, Canadian-made cars dif-      Bonneville, but under the skin it
                                         fered—sometimes greatly—from           was a Chevy.”
                                         their U.S. counterparts. High tar-        This often created some bizarre
                                         iffs made it economically unfeasi-     circumstances. When Pontiac
                                         ble for Canadian-made autos to be      moved to what they called wide
                                         sold in great numbers to the U.S.,     track in 1959 (where the wheels
                                         and vice versa. It wasn’t until the    were much farther apart in the
                                         historic Auto Pact of 1965 that the    body work), the smaller and nar-
                                         walls came tumbling down, and          rower tracks on the Chevy chassis
                                         the industry really took off in this   “looked really weird on the Canadi-
                                         country (please see The Auto           an Pontiacs because there was
                                         Pact: Dawn of Canada’s Golden          space between the wheels and the
                                         Age). Before that, separate U.S.       fenders,” Malloy says. The history
                                         and Canadian lines were churning       of the Canadian auto is littered
                                         out the same cars for the respec-      with such examples.
                                         tive domestic markets, but often          As the industry grew, the auto
                                         with slight to major variations.       became more accepted in Canadi-
                                         For instance, as far back as 1908,     an society. In 1913, Prince Edward
                                         when the landmark Ford Model T         Island amended 1908 legislation
                                         debuted, the use of Canadian
                                         components on this side of the                       Continued on page 107

1964                                     1965                                   1966
J. Armand Bombardier dies; the Beatles   Canada and the U.S. sign the Auto      Western Foundry (later Wescast)
land in the U.S. for the first time      Pact; William P. Lear, founder of      discontinues its stove manufacturing
                                         Learjet, invents the 8-track player    line; for the first time since 1912,
                                                                                The New York Yankees finish last in
                                                                                the American League

JUNE/JULY 2005                                                                    CANADIAN MACHINERY & METALWORKING   101

                                                                    THE AUTO PACT: DAWN OF
                                                                    CANADA’S GOLDEN AGE
                                                                    Signed in early 1965, the Canada-United States
                                                                    Automotive Products Agreement (the Auto pact)
                                                                    eliminated all tariffs between the two nations and
                                                                    essentially created one large auto manufacturing
                                                                    power. This landmark agreement is commonly cited
                                                                    as the trigger that transformed the Canadian auto
                                                                    industry into the economic driver it currently is.
                                                                        GM Canada’s Stew Low explains that there was
                                                                    “huge growth” in the employment levels in the years
                                                                    1965 to 1967 as a result. The company opened a
                                                                    transmission plant in Windsor and a new plant in
                                                                    Montreal (Ste. Therese, no longer in use) in 1965.
                                                                    The Oshawa plant also experienced massive expan-
                                                                    sion and a new engine plant and foundry were set
                                                                    up in St. Catharines, Ont., he says.
                                                                        “It was a huge opportunity to build the manufac-
                                                                    turing base in Canada,” Low says.
                                                                        Where formerly there had been separate lines
                                                                    for each car in Canada and the U.S., after the
                                                                    Auto pact each country focused on particular lines
                                                                    for the entire North American and global markets.
                                                                    So where Canada had only been producing
                                                                    enough cars to satisfy its own demands - a situation
                                                                    that bred horrific issues with economies of scale
                                                                    and expensive production lines that needed to
                                                                    make so many lines of car - it now had access to a
                                                                    huge market, meaning it was able to become a
                                                                    much larger exporter of cars.
                                                                        “We benefited vastly by making more cars than
                                                                    we buy,” Bill Vance says.
                                                                        The nation now sells domestically less than half
                                                                    the amount of cars it makes. (According to Low,
                                                                    about 90 per cent of the vehicles manufactured in
                                                                    Oshawa are earmarked for the U.S. market.) The
                                                                    vast growth in domestic auto parts manufacturers
                                                                    can also be traced to the Auto pact, because of the
                                                                    great need to source parts locally.
                                                                                                                       - R.B.

1966                                    1967                                           1968
Mikron brings first universal tooling   Western Star Trucks opens for                  RCA unleashes the liquid crystal
machine on the market                   business; Texas Instruments releases first     display; Stelco discovers means of
                                        hand-held calculator; Stelco Research          converting iron directly into steel;
                                        Centre opens in Burlington; Reagan             Japan’s GNP ranks second in the
                                        become governor of California                  world, next to U.S.

JUNE/JULY 2005                                                                            CANADIAN MACHINERY & METALWORKING     105

                                                                                  Continued from page 101

                                                                                  that banned all autos on the
                                                                                  island. Fearing that the ban was
                                                                                  hurting tourism, the province
                                                                                  decided to allow cars on the road
                                                                                  on Mondays, Wednesdays and
                                                                                     Even then, the massive poten-
                                                                                  tial of the auto sector was influenc-
                                                                                  ing political decisions.
                                                                                     Ford was the dominant player in
                                                                                  the early days. Of the 22,070 cars
                                                                                  sold between December 1914 and
                                                                                  November 1915, 17,570 were Fords.
                                                                                  To help meet demand, the company
                                                                                  opened a new assembly plant in
                                                                                  Winnipeg at the end of 1916 and one
                                                                                  in London, Ont. in 1917.
                                                                                     Back in Oshawa, the McLaugh-
                                                                                  lin business was now shipping
                                                                                  cars worldwide and “grew very,
                                                                                  very fast in the 10 years that they
                                                                                  had ownership of it,” says GM
                                                                                  Canada’s Director of Communica-
                                                                                  tions, Stew Low. In 1916, the com-
                                                                                  pany added Chevrolet cars to the
                                                                                  mix, and just two years later, they
                                                                                  were bought out by General
                                                                                  Motors Corp. and became General
                                                                                  Motors Canada.

                                                                                  PRE-AUTO PACT ISSUES
                                                                                  By the early 1920s, fuelled by the
                                                                                  demands of World War One, Cana-
                                                                                  da’s auto industry grew to the sec-
                                                                                  ond largest in the world. However,
                                                                                  according to the Canadian Vehicle
                                                                                  Manufacturers’ Association, high
                                                                                  prices and production inefficien-
                                                                                  cies were rampant in the industry

                                                                                                Continued on page 118

1969                                                         1969
Woodstock draws 500,000 rock fans; Hoff develops             TRUMPF opens North American operations in Farmington, Conn.
the microprocessor; ARPA (Advanced Research Projects
Agency) - parent to the Internet - goes online, connecting
four major U.S. universities

JUNE/JULY 2005                                                                      CANADIAN MACHINERY & METALWORKING   107

                                                               JUST THE FACTS, MA’AM
                                                               • According to Industry Canada, Canada has the
                                                                 eighth largest automotive industry in the world.
                                                               • Over a half a million people are employed by
                                                                 the industry.
                                                               • In 2003, the sector accounted for 12 per cent of
                                                                 the country’s manufacturing GDP and US$79.1 bil-
                                                                 lion in shipments (including vehicles and parts).
                                                               • Ward’s Automotive Reports states that Canada
                                                                 produced 2.5 million light vehicles in 2003, 16
                                                                 per cent of the total NAFTA output.
                                                               • Six of the world’s leading car makers have facto-
                                                                 ries in Canada, including Daimler Chrysler, Ford,
                                                                 GM, Honda, Suzuki and Toyota.
                                                               • There are 895 auto parts manufacturing plants
                                                                 and 23 passenger/commercial vehicle assembly
                                                                 plants in the country.
                                                               • According to Statistics Canada, the annual capi-
                                                                 tal investment in the auto sector has grown an
                                                                 average of 4 per cent annually since 1993,
                                                                 reaching US$2.3 billion in 2003.
                                                               • Canadian plants have consistently set the stan-
                                                                 dard for excellence, winning multiple awards
                                                                 from J.D. Power & Associates for their quality.
                                                               • It took GM Canada 30 years to build its first million
                                                                 vehicles. Today, the Oshawa operation is capable
                                                                 of producing that many in a little over a year.
                                                               • As recently as the late-’90s, GM Canada was
                                                                 spending about $3 billion annually on goods in
                                                                 Canada. Last year, they spent $17 billion on
                                                                 goods from Canadian suppliers. For perspective,
                                                                 Low says that’s more than the federal government
                                                                 spent in all areas of procurement - including
                                                                 defense. It’s more than the province of Ontario
                                                                 spends on healthcare.
                                                                                                               - R.B.

                                                                                                 Continued on page 118

1970                                                       1971
Thin-slab casting drastically reduces manhour/ton ratio    Stephanie Kwolek invents Kevlar; construction of Pickering
(300-400%); Triple R America introduces OSCA model         Nuclear Plant begins; petroleum discovered under Sable
oil cleaners to General Motors’ south stamping plant in    Island; the Toronto Sun publishes for the first time
Oshawa; Bobby Orr is the first defenceman to win the NHL
scoring title; Canada gripped by the October FLQ Crisis

JUNE/JULY 2005                                                                      CANADIAN MACHINERY & METALWORKING    113

                          A meeting between Sam McLaughlin and Will
                          Durant of Buick forged alliance that saw an
                          Ontario buggy manufacturer evolve from
                          horse-driven carriages (right) to the 2005 Buick Allure.

                          Continued from page 107

                          until the Auto Pact.
                             In 1925, the final member of the “Big Three”
                          set up shop in Canada, when Chrysler Corp.
                          of Canada of Windsor, Ont., succeeded the for-
                          mer Maxwell-Chalmers Motor Company of
                          Canada. The company employed 181 workers
                          and built over 7,850 cars that first year of
                          operation. By the end of the decade, Chrysler
                                                                                     PHOTO COURTESY OF GM

                          Canada had acquired Dodge Bros., a car man-
                          ufacturer, and Graham Bros., makers of
                          trucks. They had also opened a new passen-
                          ger car assembly plant on a 70-acre site just
                          outside of Windsor. The company’s current
                          vehicle assembly complex grew out of this.
                             Ford introduced its V-8 in 1932 and the fol-

                          1972                                                                              1973
                          TRW acquires German occupant restraint business Repa;                             The UMM 500 from Zeiss is the first CNC CMM with a
                          Hydro-Québec begins construction of the James Bay                                 universal 3D probe and HP 9810 computer; Montreal
                          Project; Kodak releases the instant colour camera;                                starts Canada’s first lottery to finance Summer Olympics;
                          Coordinated Universal Time is adopted worldwide                                   Sears Tower in Chicago surpasses World Trade Centre
                                                                                                            as world’s tallest building

                          118   CANADIAN MACHINERY & METALWORKING                                                                                              JUNE/JULY 2005

lowing year saw Ford stop making          was a key player through to the        ments that allowed metal stampings
four-cylinder cars in Canada,             mid-’60s when the U.S. operation       to be stitched together. This
although they continued in the            ceased production, but continued       allowed for much greater variances
U.S. market until 1934.                   for another three years in Canada      in automotive coachwork, work
   During World War II-unlike             (using a GM Chevrolet six-cylinder     that would be showed off in the
World War I-the industry was com-         and small V-8 engines).                extravagant designs of the 1950s.
  pletely shut down to provide               For a couple of years in the           What ensued was “an anything
    support for the war effort.           late-’50s and early-’60s, Malloy       we can dream about we can do
         Despite the lack of innova-      says, Studebaker was even the          attitude” that lasted into the mid-
       tion in the passenger car          exclusive distributor in Canada        ’60s, Malloy says. He cites the ‘55
        sector between the years          for Mercedes Benz.                     Chevy, in terms of its performance
         1942 and 1946, there were           The post-World War II period        orientation towards the youth and
         technological break-             was a hectic one as companies          the ‘59 Cadillac-“probably the ulti-
         throughs nonetheless. GM         franticly tried to ramp up produc-     mate expression of exuberance
        Canada’s Oshawa stamping          tion to meet the pent up demand,       and style” with its huge fins-as the
        plant received a facelift         Vance says.                            symbols of the era. It wasn’t until
       with the addition of a pair of        “New cars were in very short        the early-’60s, when compact cars
  huge geared presses capable of          supply in ‘46, ‘47, ‘48. They made     began to appear, that the industry
 exerting 1,500 tons of downward          them as fast as they could,” he        drifted away from that trend.
pressure. The presses were capa-          says. Consumers were forced to            In 1952, Ford changed the land-
ble of producing 16- and 20-inch          settle for what essentially was 1939   scape by shifting its main Canadi-
wheels, the latter of which had           technology-with cosmetic tweaks        an presence from Windsor to
never before been manufactured            like new grills-until new engines      Oakville. “And that was a big deal.
in Canada.                                and transmissions could be devel-      Windsor was up in arms,” Vance
   “We built everything here from         oped towards the late-’40s.            says. He speculates that Ford
fuselages for mosquito bombers to            The next major breakthrough in      wanted to be closer to the big pop-
trucks and various other kinds of         the industry came in 1949 when         ulation of Toronto, but Windsor
ammunition,” Low says of GM               GM introduced an overhead valve        wasn’t completely abandoned;
Canada’s wartime production.              V-8 engine in its Cadillac and         Ford kept a big engine plant in
“Whatever the country needed              Oldsmobile. A more compact,            Essex, close to Windsor.
and we had the capability to do,          lighter and straighter engine, with       As the industry grew in Canada,
we would get involved in. Who             more efficiency from its increased     so too did the need for local
would have ever thought we’d be           power per cubic inch, it “set the      sources of quality parts. In 1957,
building fuselages for airplanes          engine trend for the next 30 to 35     Frank Stronach opened up a one-
and bombers?”                             years in the North American indus-     man tool and die shop in Toronto.
                                          try,” Vance says.                      In 1969, it merged with Magna
THE STUDEBAKER STORY                                                             Electronics, forming Magna Inter-
Studebaker was a major player in          SPOT WELDING USHERS IN CHANGE          national, which would go on to
those days, says Malloy, “and they        Production techniques advanced         become the nation’s most success-
had quite a substantive plant in          greatly in the post-war period,
Hamilton (Ontario).” He says it           thanks to spot welding develop-                       Continued on page 121

1974                                      1975                                   1976
Retail introduces the laser-scanned       Paul Allen and Bill Gates form         General Steelwares and G.E. Canada
barcode; Arthur Fry invents the Post-It   Microsoft; Canada chooses beaver       merge to form Camco (Canadian
note; Canada enacts the Anti-Inflation    as national symbol                     Appliance Manufacturing Company);
Act, Nixon resigns and Power Corp                                                CN Tower becomes the world’s tallest
becomes Ontario Hydro                                                            building; IBM launches the ink-jet printer

JUNE/JULY 2005                                                                     CANADIAN MACHINERY & METALWORKING   119

                                           Continued from page 119                   ment by GM of $2.5 billion, the
                                                                                     largest in this nation’s history, the
                                           ful auto parts vendor, and an inter-      Beacon Project aims to address
                                           national success with over $1 bil-        the “commercialization gap” in
                                           lion in annual sales.                     Canada through R&D, introduction
                                                                                     of state-of-the-art flexible manufac-
                                           THE OIL EMBARGO                           turing capabilities and the devel-
                                           The oil crisis of the 1970s hit           opment and integration of environ-
                                           Canada particularly hard. The             mental technologies.
                                           nation was producing gas-guzzling            As environmental concerns con-
                                           cars, while more and more con-            tinue to be front and centre, the
                                           sumers sought out smaller, fuel-          industry is banding together to
                                           efficient vehicles to combat the          effect change. An April agreement
                                           rising price of gasoline. Japan           between Canada and its automo-
                                           would emerge as a major automo-           tive industry will usher in a 5.3-
                                           tive force, presenting challenges         megatonne reduction in green-
                                           that would force the North Ameri-         house gas emissions in new cars in
                                           can industry to evolve.                   Canada by 2010.
                                              Major restructuring took place            By 2010, Low says, GM expects
                                           during the 1980s, so the sector           to release its first viable fuel cell
                                           could compete against not only            car, an innovation that will have a
                                           Japan, but also new powers like           huge impact not only on the oil
                                           South Korea and Brazil. Among the         companies, but also on manufac-
                                           initiatives were new contracts with       turing efficiencies.
                                           the Canadian Auto Workers union              The federal government, recog-
                                           to reflect the challenging times;         nizing how vital the auto sector is
                                           new “Just in Time” inventory con-         to the nation’s future, has been
                                           trol systems to regulate produc-          working on the Automotive
                                           tion; and employment of statistical       Strategic Framework, which will
                                           process control methodologies to          outline its vision of the industry
                                           enhance quality and productivity.         through 2020, focusing on com-
                                              Robotic welding, initiated in the      petitive issues such as skills
                                           ‘80s, “was really the start of build-     development, R&D, infrastruc-
                                           ing really consistent, good body          ture, regulatory harmonization
                                           structures,” Low says.                    and trade. CM&M

                                           THE INDUSTRY’S FUTURE                     Rob Blackstien (rblackstien@pen-
                                           The future of the automotive              ultimate.ca) is a freelance writer
                                           industry in Canada was given a            and the principal of Pen-Ultimate
                                           huge shot in the arm this year            (www.pen-ultimate.ca), a Toronto-
                                           when the Beacon Project was               based writing and editorial
                                           unveiled. Consisting of an invest-        services firm.

1977                                       1978                                      1979
Camco acquires appliance division of       “Grease” and “Saturday Night Fever”       Near disaster occurs after Three Mile
Westinghouse Canada, Ltd., becoming        are the top grossing films of the year;   Island nuclear reactor meltdown
Canada’s largest appliance manufacturer;   Sex Pistols perform their final concert
Bruce Nuclear Generating System
opens; VHS video recorder developed

JUNE/JULY 2005                                                                         CANADIAN MACHINERY & METALWORKING   121

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