Canada’s automotive industry is no longer facing an existential threat from the transition to electric vehicles, as it was just a year or two ago. Wednesday’s announcement that the automaker Stellantis NV will partner with South Korea’s LG Energy Solution to build a $5-billion EV battery-assembly plant in Windsor, Ont., is proof enough of the sector’s resilience.
Billed as the single largest investment in Canadian automaking since the 1980s, if not ever, it should not only provide an estimated 2,500 jobs at that new facility but help protect many existing ones, including in parts manufacturing and at Stellantis’s existing vehicle-assembly plants in Ontario.
Combined with other, smaller recent commitments – from automakers converting some of their conventional vehicle-assembly lines in Ontario to produce EVs, to a pair of planned facilities to produce cathode active material in Quebec – it means Canada will at least continue to have a significant place in an integrated continental manufacturing sector.
But it’s not time for a victory lap just yet. There is a chance here to get closer to the auto sector’s glory days, not just preserve the shrunken version to which it was reduced in recent decades.