Chrysler retains minivan output at Ontario site in Canada

Article by Anita Panait, on March 7, 2014

Chrysler Group will still build minivans at its Windsor site in Ontario, and has withdrawn a request for government help. Chrysler, however, warned that Canada should become a cheaper place to do business for it to be considered for future products.

The carmaker disclosed that it will carry the costs of renovations necessary to produce next-generation vehicles in Windsor and at its large-car plant in Brampton, Ontario, sans financial help from the federal or provincial government.  A Chrysler statement said that the result of 2016 negotiations with UNIFOR -- representing Canadian auto workers -- would be "of particular importance."

"It is clear to us that our projects are now being used as a political football, a process that, in our view, apart from being unnecessary and ill-advised, will ultimately not be to the benefit of Chrysler," Chrysler said in a statement. "As a result, Chrysler will deal in an unfettered fashion with its strategic alternatives regarding product development and allocation and will fund out of its own resources."

Chrysler reiterated its commitment to produce the successor for the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan at its Windsor site and the next-generation Dodge Charger and Challenger and Chrysler 300 at its Brampton facility. Those models accounted for 20 percent of the 1.8 million vehicles Chrysler sold in the United States in 2013.

In its disclosure withdrawing its request for the reported over $630 million in government support, the US carmaker said it would continue to observe the "competitiveness" of Canada both in North America and globally, specifically citingthe 2016 union talks.

UNIFOR President Jerry Dias expressed pleasure that Chrysler elected to invest in Windsor and Brampton but let out concern at the carmaker’s decision to withdraw its request for government help. "The bottom line is that the people of Ontario and our leaders need to understand the importance of developing a long-term strategy, including public investment, if we want to have a strong, competitive advanced manufacturing sector," Dias said in a statement.

Chrysler considers itself to have invented the minivan. Now, Chrysler is marrying modern design with minivans by introducing the new 2013 Town & Country S model. The latest "S" model in the Chrysler line-up will be unveiled to the global public at the 2012 Los Angeles International Auto Show, showcasing a number of enhancements in both exterior and interior, as well as in its equipment.

Saad Chehab, president and chief executive of the Chrysler Brand at Chrysler Group LLC, remarked that the carmaker tailored the new minivan for active and stylish customers. He noted that while the standard Town & Country offers uptown looks, the S version presents the downtown style. Chehab said that since the Town & Country S is a modern take of '313' in the '310,' it was only fitting that the unveiling is done in Los Angeles.

The 2013 Town & Country S is available in colors like Billet Silver, Brilliant Black, Deep Cherry Red and Stone White and features a revised trim that contrast the usual bright exterior. For instance, the new Town & Country S dons a black chrome grille, black-background Chrysler Winged badges on the front and rear, black-painted pockets and a black rear fascia step pad. The Town & Country S also features "S" model badging and 17-inch aluminum wheels with polished face. Blacked-out headlight bezels will be available after launch.

Inside, Chrysler Town & Country S features a monotone black interior, featuring Black Torino leather seats with an "S" logo embroidered in the seat backs. The seats also come with black Ballistic cloth inserts and grey stitching.

The door armrests also come with grey stitching. Meanwhile, the instrument panel and the spokes of the black leather-wrapped steering wheel feature piano black gloss application while the Chrysler Winged badge on the wheel mirrors the black background appearance of its exterior counterpart. The headliner, upper consoles and center console are also in black. An "S" logo can be found on the instrument cluster.

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