excellent wiki prowess... but... what's your point?
GM wanted to do business in Canada - ergo... in 1949 it established GM Diesel as the Canadian subsidiary of its Electro Motive division... effectively the standard end-around to Canadian import tariff protections. And then, in 2005, GM divested itself of its locomotive manufacturing and Electro-Motive was "Romneyfied", ala U.S. investment groups purchase, reestablishing the Canadian subsidiary GM Diesel as Electro-Motive Canada. The standard investment group, corporation 'flip' move, took a few years longer than the norm, but eventually Caterpillar bit and gobbled-up a key competitor, Electro-Motive, from the stalwart corporation flippers, Berkshire Partners/Greenbriar Equity.
again, what was your point?
I had some personal insight into this very plant, Waldo. I sold parts to them throughout the 90's.
Frankly, I'm surprised they stayed in business this long! This plant, along with virtually all Westinghouse, General Electric and other "old names" was woefully mired in the past. They were stuck in 1965!
They all just kept downsizing and downsizing, shedding employees by retirement and attrition. Their main difficulty is that all of them had smaller or larger portions of their market in the military world, where specifications and quality control methods were left far behind in the dust during the high tech wave of the 80's and 90's.
The only reason they lasted as long as they did was because there was a clause in the Defence Agreements that said the companies had to keep some capacity in Canada. So they would give their Canadian branches the older, becoming obsolete stuff. In the 90's when I was there GM was beginning to face hard competition on locomotive engines from China. I would imagine that has increased, not gone away!
Even GM's locomotive division had the same problems. Under the same roof they built military vehicles, like the present armoured personnel carriers. Such businesses tended to share the same sort of paperwork and quality control methods, for thinking the long past notion that military specs ensured better quality. With many modern materials, especially electronics, this has long been false!
So when you couple old age, obsolescence and general stodginess together it's no wonder people like me that got to see behind the curtain have been expecting them to die off for decades now!
Now the American masters are pulling the plug. Quelle Surpriz!
This argument reminds me of a similar situation when I worked for what was left of the old Westinghouse Vacuum Tube manufacturing division, in the late 80's. There was only a half dozen or so older employees left, waiting to retire while they re-branded vacuum tubes under the Westinghouse name to sell for replacements.
One old timer at the desk beside mine told me one day that what had killed their business was the entry of cheap Japanese vacuum tubes into our market. He went on to say that the company and the union both had petitioned the federal government to put up tariffs on the Japanese product so that Westinghouse could continue to compete.
I asked my friend what time frame was he talking about. "Around 1978", he replied.
1978! I was shocked! The entire world had gone solid state in the early 60's! Sales had fallen off because no one was using them anymore! No vacuum tube radios, or tvs, or hifi's!
I held my tongue, because I suddenly realized that my older friends had never noticed how the world had changed around them. Pointing it out would have done no good. It only might have offended them.
This Electro Motive situation seems exactly the same.
Edited by Wild Bill, 04 January 2012 - 01:36 PM.