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Chrysler Group will still build minivans at its Windsor site in Ontario, and has withdrawn a request for government help.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.

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