General Motors Co (GM) on Friday announced plans to hire 1,000 engineers and software developers at its Canadian research facilities near Toronto over the coming years to design new self-driving cars.
“With this expansion, GM Canada will play an important role in our evolution toward vehicles that are connected, autonomous, shared and electric,” GM global product development executive vice president Mark Reuss said in a statement.
In addition to autonomous vehicle software and controls, the teams will also work on new safety, “infotainment” and wireless connection technologies, according to the company.
The positions are to be based at existing research facilities in Oshawa on the shore of Lake Ontario and a new automotive software lab to be opened soon in nearby Markham.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — who lobbied GM chief executive Mary Barra at the World Economic Forum in Davos earlier this year — was on hand for the announcement, saying that GM’s investment “will create good paying jobs.”
Trudeau attributed the move to a “growing network of innovative startups and suppliers” in Canada.
“Today’s announcement is not an endpoint, but just another step in delivering Canada’s clean-growth economy,” he said.
The expansion of engineering jobs does not guarantee a future for GM’s manufacturing plants in Canada, Reuss said.
“What we’re doing here and talking about today is really the future of the automobile globally,” Reuss said, adding that this is not “directly related to a manufacturing footprint.”
Canada’s manufacturing industry has suffered a long-term decline, but it is still one of Ontario’s key sectors, employing 750,000 people.
Additional reporting by Bloomberg
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