GM Defense takes business to foreign governments starting with Canada

General Motors subsidiary GM Defense LLC is looking to do business with Canada.

In a statement Tuesday, GM Defense said it will start expanding, with the intent to deliver highly customized vehicles and other services to international military, security and government customers, with Canada being one of them. 

“GM’s world-class manufacturing and engineering resources in Canada make this collaboration a natural next step for expanding our global presence,” said Steve duMont, president of GM Defense, based in Washington, D.C.  “We have a seamless partnership with GM Canada that will enable us to deliver highly customized solutions to meet the unique requirements of Canadian defense and government customers.”

GM is investing $35 billion in electric vehicles and self-driving technology, which GM Defense can tap into for its military products, as it has done for U.S. government customers. Now, GM Defense is looking to Canada  to grow its government clientele, duMont said.

While the U.S. Defense Department’s tactical and combat vehicles are the most lucrative markets for GM Defense, it has long said it is also considering work with other government agencies, such as the Department of Homeland Security, and even foreign military.

“We will be making an additional announcement next month just before the Eurosatory trade show, one of the largest defense trade shows in the world taking place June 13-17 outside of Paris,” said GM Defense spokeswoman Sonia Taylor. “We are having active dialogues with potential customers in Europe, Middle East and Indo-Pacific region.”

She declined to share any more specific country details until the talks are further along.

In Canada, GM has invested $6 billion since 2009 to update its plants as well as reopen Oshawa Assembly in Ontario to build full-size pickups. GM retooled its CAMI Assembly in Ontario to be the first large-scale commercial EV manufacturing plant. It will build commercial delivery EVs for GM’s BrightDrop business. 

GM’s investments will help GM Defense meet Canadian defense requirements by potentially making products in Canada.

“We understand that the Canadian military procurement process requires significant investments in country, and we’re confident that GM’s current and future investments will help us meet our Industrial Technological Benefit obligations in support of our Canadian customers,” duMont said in a statement.

GM formed GM Defense in 2017. In 2020, it won its first contract, worth $214.3 million, to build the Infantry Squad Vehicle (ISV) for the U.S. Army. 

The ISV is based on the 2020 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 midsize pickup. It is designed for rapid ground mobility and carrying a nine-soldier infantry squad through the battlefield.

GM Defense has located the factory that will make the ISV in Concord, North Carolina, and delivered the first ISV last October. It has agreed to produce 649  ISVs, which it will deliver by fiscal year 2024, and it will support the production of up to 2,065 vehicles as it gets additional authorization over the eight-year contract. 

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In September 2021, GM Defense announced it won a $36.4 million contract from the U.S. State Department to develop the next-generation large support utility commercial vehicles for the department’s Diplomatic Security Service. The DSS is the federal law enforcement and security arm of the department. GM Defense will create a purpose-built heavy-duty Suburban and make 10 of them over the next two years.

GM Defense will be showcasing its products and discussing its capabilities at Canada’s global defense and security trade show hosted by Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries in Ottawa on Wednesday and Thursday. 

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Contact Jamie L. LaReau at 313-222-2149 or jlareau@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @jlareauan. Read more on General Motors and sign up for our autos newsletter. Become a subscriber.

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