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Unexpectedly high sales of the reintroduced Chevrolet Camaro and the addition of the Buick Regal next year both bode well for General Motors' workforce at its Oshawa Ontario assembly plants, says the automaker's vice-chairman.

"The Camaro has become more important to our product lines than we expected and sales volumes are higher than we thought they'd be," said Bob Lutz. "It's a dynamically excellent vehicle and design-wise we really nailed this one.

"The key is that it's not a straight retro version of the '67 Camaro, which at first dismayed owners of the '67 Camaro, but it harkens back to its heritage without redoing it."

It's expected that GM will also start assembling the Regal in Oshawa in the first quarter of next year. Currently, it's being built in Europe.

"It'll be low-volume until we get the Canadian plant going," said Lutz. "I hope the auto media don't view it as a flop because it's low volume by necessity until we get added capacity in Canada."

The full production model of the Regal, modelled after the Opel Insignia, is expected to transform Buick's image as a nameplate for stodgy sedans into one which stands for performance, styling and tight handling in the same way as it European counterparts.

"With the Regal, it's a clear sign that we are getting back into the performance game," said Jim Federico, global chief engineer for the Regal. "If we choose to launch this vehicle as a production vehicle, it will change Buick's image forever.