General Motors of Canada, the Government of Qubec and the Socit gnrale de financement du Qubec (SGF) signed an agreement today that lays the foundation to develop the Qubec automotive supplier base and leverage the strategic advantage that Qubec enjoys in lightweight materials. Michael Grimaldi, President of General Motors of Canada said, “Today, GM sources $800 million annually from suppliers in Qubec, substantially more than any other auto manufacturer. The agreement we signed today with the Government of Qubec establishes a plan to expand the capability of existing Qubec based suppliers, develop the potential of new suppliers and attract new companies to Qubec.” GM has set a target of allocating an additional $400 million in new GM contracts to current or future suppliers over the next five years. In addition, GM has committed to engage Qubec universities and research institutions in a $10 million research and development program over the next five years to enhance its knowledge and capabilities in lightweight materials applications. “The agreement signed today by the Government of Qubec is completely aligned with our full employment strategy and it contributes to the value placed on leading-edge sectors. As we wish to have a solid automotive industry in Qubec, the Government of Qubec has given itself the objective of securing up to $400 million in new contracts for Qubec suppliers from principals other than GM. Cumulatively, these efforts could increase the annual purchases of parts and sub-systems from $1.6 to $2.4 billion,” declared the Deputy Premier of Qubec, Mrs. Pauline Marois. “To reach these goals and develop the Qubec supplier base, we will allocate up to $280 million in the form of financial aid either through existing or new programmes. On another note, we are also committing ourselves to sustaining the research and development of products, up to a $10 million ceiling, such that the capacity of lightweight-material production in Qubec may be increased,” added Mrs. Lucie Papineau, Minister-Delegate of Industry and Commerce. “This agreement highlights Qubec’s competitive edge in lightweight materials by accelerating the development of new Qubec suppliers in the automotive sector and thereby increasing the opportunities for other suppliers to set up business across the province,” added the Deputy Premier. “The SGF will create a wholly-owned subsidiary, the Qubec Auto Partnership (QAP Inc.), which will fall under the responsibility of its SGF Transport division. The QAP will act as a one-stop-shop, coordinating the various investment projects in the automotive sector and will facilitate access to principals. It will ensure that all of Qubec’s applicable advantages and programmes are fully leveraged and that the projects truly meet the needs of the automotive industry. SGF will continue to realise its objectives and will be able to participate in the equity financing of suppliers so that they may establish themselves or expand their business in Qubec based on a solid foundation,” declared Mr. Eric Hubar Meunier, Vice- President of the SGF. GM will identify companies in Qubec that have the potential to supply them at automotive volumes, at competitive cost, quality, technology and delivery. Where appropriate GM will help suppliers create a specific plan for their development and link them with the government to identify where support from a government institution would enhance their competitiveness. These activities will be managed by a dedicated GM Manager of Qubec Supplier Development who will create a comprehensive supplier development plan for GM in Qubec. GM will also dedicate a Manager of Qubec R & D who will be responsible for working with the Qubec research institutions on the lightweight materials research activities. “We are pleased to be working with the Government of Qubec to do our share, but Quebec suppliers will be much stronger if they have a portfolio of business with other OEM’s. Accordingly, we support the Government of Qubec in its efforts to reach out to other auto manufacturers to engage them in the Qubec Auto Partnership and help to develop Qubec’s auto supply industry,” said Grimaldi.