Camaro/Firebird on hiatus
after 2002 model year
GM Celebrates Muscle Cars Last Year of Production, Closes Ste. Therese Facility
DETROIT, September 25,
2001. 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
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.