Camaro/Firebird on Hiatus after 2002 Model Year
GM Celebrates Muscle Cars’ Last Year of Production, Closes Ste. Therese Facility
DETROIT – General Motors Corporation today announced that 2002 will be the last model year for the Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac Firebird. The Ste. Thérèse, Quebec plant where the vehicles are produced will close in the fall of 2002.
According to John G. Middlebrook, GM vice president and general manager vehicle brand marketing & corporate advertising, the combination of significantly reduced demand in the regular sport segment – which has decreased by 53 percent from 1990 to 2000, due in large part to the increasing popularity of trucks – along with the substantial excess manufacturing capacity in the industry made this decision unavoidable.
Middlebrook said GM is celebrating both cars’ significance as American musclecar icons in 2002.
“The Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac Firebird have truly become an integral part of American culture over the years,” said Middlebrook. “We appreciate the strong emotions that our customers have for these cars and we’re pleased to be celebrating them with a 35th Anniversary Edition Camaro and a Collector Edition Firebird Trans Am special edition models.”
Although Camaro and Firebird have always had focused appeal, both Chevy and Pontiac will continue the tradition of providing performance vehicles with high value. Next year, Chevy will introduce the SSR. Pontiac will also continue to offer excitement with performance powertrains, including the supercharged Grand Prix GTP and Bonneville SSEi and the forthcoming Vibe GT.
GM will continue to support the millions of Camaro and Firebird/Trans Am owners with replacement parts, reproduction parts, accessories and technical support through its Service Parts Organization.
General Motors of Canada Limited president and general manager, Maureen Kempston Darkes said, “Closing the Ste. Thérèse Plant is an extremely painful and difficult decision. GM has worked very hard to identify a new product or other alternative to continue manufacturing at Ste. Thérèse. However, despite several years of intensive work, we have been unable to identify any viable alternatives.
“We are committed to ensuring as smooth a transition as possible for our people. Almost all of the 1,065 employees currently on-roll at Ste. Thérèse are now eligible for retirement or will become eligible within the next few years. In addition, virtually all of the 380 employees currently on lay-off will similarly be eligible for retirement. The GM of Canada benefit package is extensive, with income continuation for up to three years for affected employees. We are committed to working closely with the CAW and the Quebec and federal Governments to put in place retraining and other transition assistance programs for those that want to continue their working careers.”
The Ste. Thérèse, Quebec plant opened in 1965. Over the years, it has produced a variety of car models, including the Chevrolet Monza, Pontiac Grand Prix and Chevrolet Celebrity. It has been the sole producer of the Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac Firebird models since 1993. The plant currently operates on one shift.
General Motors (NYSE: GM), the world’s largest vehicle manufacturer, designs, builds and markets cars and trucks worldwide. In 2000, GM earned $5 billion on sales of $183.3 billion, excluding special items. It employs about 372,000 people globally.
GM also operates one of the largest and most successful financial services companies, GMAC, which offers automotive, mortgage and business financing and insurance services to customers worldwide.
GM is investing aggressively in digital technology and e-business within its global automotive operations and through such initiatives as e-GM, GM BuyPower, OnStar and its Hughes Electronics Corp. (NYSE:GMH) subsidiary.