Chevrolet Blazer Bound for Mexican Plant, UAW ‘Disappointed’

The new Chevrolet Blazer is the hot-ticket auto creating the most buzz right now, but it’s also generating mild controversy. Many who remember the original were more than a little disappointed seeing the name affixed to a unibody crossover with front-drive origins. While mainstream shoppers aren’t likely to mind, former Blazer owners aren’t thrilled with General Motors’ decision.

It’s probably more financially viable for the automaker to do it this way. GM can definitely serve most customers for less money. But you get the sense that they’ve watered down the automotive broth to stretch the C1XX platform as far as it will go. At least it means more jobs for Americans, though, right? Well, not exactly. 

According to Reuters, General Motors confirmed its earlier plan to manufacture the Blazer in Mexico. With the recent hubbub from the White House surrounding vehicles produced abroad, the possibility of new tariffs, and NAFTA negotiations going so poorly, there was a growing sense that GM would find a way to build the crossover stateside. There was even rumor that Lansing Delta Township Assembly, which is already close to full capacity, would shoulder some of the burden with the rest going to Spring Hill Manufacturing in Tennessee.

While that decision would have placed both facilities into perpetual overdrive, it seemed theoretically possible, considering the recent emphasis on American Made™ products. Both plants already work on the Blazer’s sister vehicles, too.

Other claims arose that the company might retool Lordstown Assembly in Ohio to prepare for the crossover. Due to declining Chevrolet Cruze sales, the facility has seen output drop and shifts cut. Frankly, this would have made the most sense if production were to stay in the U.S., due to the underutilization of manpower and space. But the equipment costs and prep-work needed would have been significant. Unfortunately, it was all wishful thinking. The 2019 Blazer remains Mexico-bound.

“We remain committed to working with the administration on a modernized NAFTA,” GM spokesman Pat Morrissey said, before adding that the factory decision was made years ago.

The automaker certainly could have tried to change its production strategy for the political climate, but reorganizing the logistics last minute would have been an incredibly messy affair. Like Morrissey said, these decisions are typically made long before assembly kicks off.

The United Auto Workers union called the decision very disappointing. “This is all happening while UAW-GM workers here in the U.S. are laid off and unemployed,” the union said in a statement.

a version of this story first appeared on thetruthaboutcars.com

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