TORONTO — General Motors’ $170-million plan to turn its Oshawa, Ont., assembly plant into a parts operation signals a new business model for the automaker and gives the factory a renewed lease on life.

“Getting that kind of money is more than a stay of execution and does allow them to live to fight another day,” said Kristin Dziczek, vice-president of industry, labour and economics at the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich. “That’s better than closing.”

GM plans to convert Oshawa Assembly into a plant producing parts for vehicles such as the GMC Acadia, Chevrolet Traverse and Equinox crossovers. The plant also will do stamping for GM’s CAMI Assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ont., and the automaker is in talks to perform similar work for suppliers including Magna International Inc. and Martinrea International Inc.

The Oshawa site will also become home to a test track for vehicles with autonomous and other advanced technologies.

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