02/07/2012 03:20 EST | Updated 04/08/2012 05:12 EDT

Oshawa Reclaims Car Crown From Windsor

Oshawa is once again the automotive capital of Canada, according to a leading automotive consultant.

Dennis DesRosiers, president of DesRosiers Automotive Consultants Inc., said Oshawa built more cars than Windsor, Oakville and Cambridge in 2011.

Oshawa produced approximately 303,500 units last year, according to DesRosiers. Windsor came in a close second at 301,500. Cambridge finished third with 290,400 units.

Oshawa's automotive industry has experienced a remarkable turnaround in less than three years.

The city once produced close to a million vehicles per year in Canada but with all the problems with the restructuring dropped down to only 243,580 units in 2009. Oshawa finished in fourth place that year, behind Windsor, Alliston and Cambridge.

However, GM's decision to move overflow Chevy Equinox production to Oshawa pushed that city's production up by roughly 60,000 units in 2011.

The Equinox is also produced in Ingersoll, which produced 285,100 vehicles last year.

Overall, production in Canada increased to 2.1 million units, an increase of 2.4 per cent. This past decade saw Canada averaging closer to 2.5 million units per year, so the country is still well below historical levels.

Canada's automotive future tough to forecast

In his report, DesRosiers warned that Canada may never get back to its highest levels of production.

A number of plants closed in the last few years, including Ford's St. Thomas facility.

"We also no longer produce any pickup trucks, currently a growth segment in the market," DesRosiers said in his report.

Still, DesRosiers has reason to be optimistic.

"There is a lot of room to grow production in Canada since a number of plants - Toyota and Honda in particular - are operating well below rated capacity levels," he said.