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Ontario car towns pitch province to automakers

Published by Steve Coleman on August 03, 2011

Sixty communities from Oshawa to Windsor are in Michigan this week reminding automakers why they're already building vehicles in Ontario.

Delegates from the Ontario Automotive Communities Alliance are in Traverse City, Mich. For the Centre For Automotive Research's 46th annual CAR Management Seminar.

CEOs from several leading automobile companies are scheduled to speak during this year's "Prosperity and Uncertainty"-themed show.

Ontario towns hope to send a reminder of the types of investment they've already made in the industry.

"We're here to make auto executives understand that what makes Ontario the number one place to build cars in North America is our tier one talent and relentless innovation backed by focused funding," says Bill Elliot, Vice President of Business Development with Canada's Technology Triangle in Waterloo Region.

Seventeen per cent of all vehicles made in North America have their roots in Ontario.

According to the Conference Board of Canada, the Canadian auto assembly industry can expect to post profits of almost $1 billion in 2011, an increase from $114 million in 2010. Industry revenues shot up by 29 per cent last year and will rise another eight per cent in 2011.

For parts manufacturers, the Conference Board said a jump in demand and significant cost restructuring led the industry to a $255-million profit last year - the first profitable year for the industry since 2007.

Despite the current turmoil in the industry, strong gains in production in the second half of the year will lead to a profit of about $455 million in 2011.

Delegates say they also plan to remind the auto industry's senior management about the opening of the first phase of the University of Windsor's $112 million Centre for Engineering Innovation and the new $100 million GM Automotive Centre of Excellence in Oshawa with the world's largest wind tunnel for automotive testing.

Currently, 43 per cent of Ontario autoworkers have post-secondary training and the province has more engineers per capita than any other G7 nation.

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