General Motors Diesel Division

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General Motors Diesel Division (GMDD) was a branch of General Motors that was founded in 1938.

That branch of GM was the Canadian manufacturer of heavy equipment. They were manufacturing diesel engines, diesel locomotives, transit buses and military vehicles.

The engine making unit was known as Detroit Diesel, the locomotive unit as Electro Motive Diesel and the military vehicles making unit, was known as GM Defense.


In 1950, GM opened a plant in London. That plant had been mostly designed for the assembly of various components coming from the U.S. or from Canadian subcontractors. These components were mostly used for the locomotive.

In 1959, GM introduced the New-Look. The bus became popular as soon as it came out. Some companies tried to imitate the design of the bus, such as Flxible or Flyer (New Flyer predecessor). That bus became an icon of public transit across North America.

In early 1960’s, GM moved the production of New-Look orders, destined to Canadian Transit agencies, at the London plant.

In 1974, GMDD opened a plant in Saint-Laurent (Montreal), which was mostly used to finalize the assembly of buses destined to Quebec transit agencies.

In 1977, GMC introduced the RTS that was originally supposed to replace the New-Look. Though, since many transit agencies of the Canadian market didn’t like the RTS, the New-Look stayed in production. The Canadian plants continued to produce New-Looks, as well for the U.S. agencies that didn’t wanted to buy RTS.

In 1979, a brand new plant opened in Saint-Eustache. That plant replaced the one from Saint-Laurent, that was closed right after. From now on, all the buses produced by GMDD, were completely manufactured at the Saint-Eustache Plant. Note, this plant is still being used by Nova Bus, nowadays.

In late 1982, GMDD introduced the Classic, a modernized version of the New-Look. Starting then, most of the Canadian transit agencies started to order Classics, instead of New-Looks. Also, a few agencies from the U.S. showed interest in the Classics, so the buses were also manufactured at the Saint-Eustache plant.

In 1986, the last New-Looks (destined to the U.S.) were manufactured.

In 1987, GMDD sold the transit bus division to Motor Coach Industries.

In 2000, Detroit Diesel was sold DailmerChrysler AG.

In 2003, GM Defense, was sold to General Dynamics.

As of 2005, Electro-Motive diesel had been completely sold to private investors.

Plants used by GMDD

Location Years Production Notes
London, Ontario 1962–1978 Buses; shared location with locomotive plant (under Electro Motive Division of GM) Sold to General Dynamics
Saint-Eustache, Quebec 1979–1987 Final assembly plant for buses sold in Quebec Sold to Motor Coach Industries
Saint-Laurent, Quebec 1974–1979 Final assembly plant for buses sold in Quebec Plant closed and moved to Saint-Eustache (now Nova Bus plant)

Products from GMDD


  • New Look (1961-1986)
  • Classic (1983-1987)
  • TA60-102N (1982)


  • GP-series Locomotives
  • SD-series Locomotives