General Motors of Canada confirms it will spend C$300 million on tooling, training, machinery and equipment to assemble the new '03 Pontiac Grand Prix at its Oshawa No.2 assembly plant (see Ward's Automotive Reports — Sept. 25, '00, p.1).

The shift from its current production home at the Fairfax, KS, plant is part of preparations to launch a new “mid-lux” platform beginning in July 2002.

Grand Prix needed a new assembly location because Fairfax has been designated the lead plant for GM's upcoming Epsilon midsize global car platform — believed to include the Olds Alero, Chevy Malibu, Pontiac Grand Am, Saturn L-Series and Opel Vectra.

Grand Prix is expected to fall under the mid-lux platform along with Oldsmobile Aurora and Buick Regal/Century, with speculation the platform also could be the basis for the Chevy Impala and Monte Carlo. Look also for an Epsilon Wide family into which Olds Intrigue may fall.

Last week's announcement signals a return of Pontiac to Canada for the first time since the Pontiac 6000 went out of production there in 1988.

The C$300 million brings investment in Canada by major automakers to more than C$3 billion this year. Included in that tally are C$1.5 billion to expand DaimlerChrysler Canada's Pillette assembly plant to make the next generation Ram pickup and a new full-sized sport/utility vehicle. DC also is investing a further C$500 million in its R&D center in Windsor, Ont.

Toyota Canada is spending C$650 million to assemble the Lexus RX 300 SUV in Cambridge, Ont., and Ford of Canada is expanding its engine facilities in Windsor and will announce Nov. 1 the amount it will pour into new paint facilities under construction at the St. Thomas, Ont., assembly plant (Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis).