By on June 15, 2016

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Exterior Front 3/4. Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Two years after it issued, and then cancelled, a request for government assistance, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles finally received some cash to help pay for its Windsor Assembly Plant upgrade.

The province of Ontario handed FCA $85.8 million ($66.5 million U.S.) today to help cover some of the cost of retooling the facility to handle production of the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivan. Some of the cash went to the research and development facility FCA operates jointly with the University of Windsor.

In a release, the Premier’s office said the plant upgrade (which cost about $2 billion) “will safeguard the facility, has created 1,200 new jobs and will secure 4,000 existing positions.”

The province, which is in the midst of trying to pass a multi-billion-dollar climate change plan, greatly played up the fact that FCA builds two hybrid versions of the Pacifica. The plant also builds the Dodge Grand Caravan.

The announcement comes as the province embarks on an automaker-focused U.S. trade push. There’s a lot of concern, especially among workers and their labor representatives, that the Canadian auto industry is threatened. Last week’s announcement of 700 new General Motors jobs in the field of advanced vehicle development didn’t come with a promise of new product at the threatened Oshawa Assembly plant.

Today’s funding announcement in Windsor is something of a make-up gift for FCA, after its initial request for help went nowhere. At the time, the province was in the middle of an election where corporate welfare emerged as a controversial issue. According to the CBC, FCA asked for $700 million to support the upgrades, but withdrew the request when it became a political football.

While Windsor has a future, questions remain about the fate of FCA’s aging Brampton, Ontario plant, which produces the Chrysler 300, Dodge Challenger and Dodge Charger.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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35 Comments on “Fiat-Chrysler Finally Gets Some Government Cash for its Minivan Plant...”


  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    I can see the government purse strings loosening up since the oil industry has taken a beating in Canada.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Lou,
      Is this money going to reap any real rewards?

      Lots of Canadian tax dollars is dumped into it’s auto sector. I do believe this is counter productive in the longer term.

      There must be better businesses or industries that are more profitable than the floundering auto industry in Canada. The auto industry in Canada is going the way of the dodo.

      Why not make the more profitable industries even better, rather than scrapping the bottom of the barrel?

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        “There must be better businesses or industries that are more profitable than the floundering auto industry in Canada

        Why not make the more profitable industries even better, rather than scrapping the bottom of the barrel?”

        You can do both.

        The auto industry employs a lot of people. Even if you wanted to prop up “winning” industries, you still have to deal with the people who are employed by declining ones.

        If you don’t, you’ll see your tax revenues gutted when your “good” industries suffer.

        Which, I might add, is exactly what’s happening now: Canada spent years investing in resources and commodity extraction to the point where the economy developed dutch disease and other industries closed up or moved elsewhere. Then the price of oil collapsed and, oh my, there wasn’t any other eggs in the basket. Oops.

        “Steady hand on the wheel” indeed.

      • 0 avatar
        Joss

        The problem with Canada is the stupid border and the fear of losing it. Today Canada is in no way different from the US.
        ALL Canadian principal cities have daily shootings and gang violence.

        The border is an anachronism left over from Empire days. Only the local financials benefit from its protection.

        The investment in Windsor is a welcome gain for Ontario.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          “Today Canada is in no way different from the US.”

          Oh yes they are. Not least because they put *gravy* on their fries.

          • 0 avatar
            BigOldChryslers

            Gravy? Vinegar is where it’s at, malt vinegar preferred. Unless you’re thinking of poutine, which is fries topped with cheese curds and gravy, and is pretty good also.

            “The border is an anachronism left over from Empire days. Only the local financials benefit from its protection.”

            We will only allow the US to join Canada if you start offering malt vinegar at all restaurants that serve french fries. (FYI, Quebec will probably also demand gravy have equal status in the deal as well.) Also, get used to calling the last letter of the alphabet “zed” instead of “zee”.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            *Shrug* last time I was in Chatham, we went to Kelsey’s and I was asked if I wanted gravy for my fries.

          • 0 avatar
            BigOldChryslers

            I never noticed whether restaurants in the US try to upsell their fries with gravy for an additional charge. I don’t know anybody that actually gets that. However most places that serve fries here have vinegar as one of the standard condiments. Just about the only places in the US I’ve found carry vinegar for fries are fish & chips restaurants.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @Joss – Canadian gun violence is considerably different than in the USA. The most recent stats I could find are from 2013. Canada averages 0.2/1000 female and 0.8/1000 male gun deaths per year. The USA is 2.3/1000 female and 11.8/1000 male. Male gun death is almost 15 times higher in the USA.
          Gun ownership is interesting. Per capita Canada is 30.8 and the USA is 112.6.

          The USA has 4 times the guns per capita than Canada but 15 times the number of gun deaths.

          I’m sure the suicide argument will get floated soon. It is hard to refute since the US’s choices for President are Hillary and Donald.
          I’d be depressed too.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            Our numbers are skewed significantly by 15-21 year old males, which is largely thanks to drug/gang violence. The “War on (some) Drugs” has been an absolute disaster for this country.

          • 0 avatar
            ect

            I recently saw the results of a study of homicide gun deaths per capita across developed countries. The US rate was 6-20 times that of other countries (Canada was at the high end of the “other countries” category).

  • avatar

    #1 The government owes EVERY American manufacturer money for ALLOWING FOREIGN IMPORTS TO COME IN SANS TARIFF.

    PRESIDENT TRUMP is going to fix that.

    The scales have been UNFAIRLY tipped in favor of the competition and it’s time to make America great again.

    #2 My recent trip to THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES used a full tank of gas in my JGCSRT to go 250 miles.

    I’d really like to take the new Pacifica on such a drive and see how well it rides and uses gasoline, but I wouldn’t be able to maintain speeds between 80 – 100 without putting stress on it and myself.

    • 0 avatar
      yamahog

      There’s a 2.5% tariff on cars imported to America.

      We can talk about it when we race for titles.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      bigtrucks,
      I really don’t think you can believe the sh!t you put forward here on TTAC. If you are attempting to market yourself I’d say slow down with the crap comments.

      They are entertaining to a degree and some of your comments are of some value.

      The reality is this (if you really want the US to improve);

      1. Have a realistic minimum wage in the US. So, people can at least expect some form of middle class life. The US middle class is diminishing. It’s people like you who will whine and cry about if people want to do better then it’s their responsibility. If that’s the case, let bygones be bygones in the employment front.

      2. The US, and people like you live in the past when the US was more influential around the globe. Many nations have improved and now the US is finding it more competitive to survive. This is life, toughen the FU and compete.

      3. Do you think the US is the only nation that is encountering the loss of manufacturing jobs? Even China over the past decade has lost over 30 million jobs. Robotics, AI and computerisation is the problem. The US can compete, but with less manufacturing jobs. Maybe the Chinese are better able to adjust in this area at the moment.

      4. The US to compete must also produce vehicles of quality that the world wants. Have a look at your pickup trucks. They are protected with the chicken tax of 25%. There is no real market for them outside of the US. So how can you expect the US to export a product that is not suitable for export?

      Yup as I have shown in comment 4, if you want to go down the path of protectionism, the US will shoot itself in the foot.

      This doesn’t include the gradual alienation of the US’es allies and business partners not wanting to deal as much with the US.

      So, your ideals will only reduce the standard of living in the US. The US needs other countries to deal with, and the US is going to find it harder and harder to call the shots.

      It must compete.

      As for this handout, it’s a waste of taxpayer dollars. The money could be spent on more profitable industries which will give Canada a greater return.

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        There you are folks . We in Canada / Ontario , have a solution to all our issues. Maybe our southern neighbors , might want to take note also.

        It’s so simple , just adopt all the policy’s , economic , political , manufacturing etc, that those obiviiosly , superior intellect folks , down under adhere to.

        After all they produced the likes of Robert Ryan , and BAFO . What could possibly go wrong?

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        @BigAl- You come from a very small population-wise and relatively homogeneous country. The US is the exact opposite. A national minimum wage makes no sense, costs of living vary DRAMATICALLY based on area and we’re not even talking about Downtown Manhattan vs Nowhere, Kansas. Minimum wage is not a one size fits all shoe. It’s better dealt with at a state/local level. For example: if you live in California, do you really want the representative from Maine 3,000 miles away to have a vote on deciding what your minimum wage should be, having never lived, worked, or possibly even visited there before?

        “World” vehicles are a relative term. Due to differences in regulations, let alone tastes between various countries, true WORLD vehicles rarely exist. Even a vehicle like the Ford Fusion/Mondeo is spec’d differently on different sides of the Atlantic.

        And what’s the big deal with US pickups? You seem to have some sort of a fetish for them. They’re profitable and people want them. An automakers goal is to MAKE MONEY, that’s what the trucks do.

      • 0 avatar

        I’m not sure what part of “minimum wage” liberals don’t seem to understand.

        MINIMUM – means THE LEAST

        Wage – pay

        THE LEAST I CAN POSSIBLY PAY YOU.

        I don’t understand why people don’t get it.

        I started working at a Mobil Mart across the street from my High School in 1998. $7.50 an hour. Sweeping, cashiering, sorting beer/soda onto shelves…

        I’m not ashamed to say it. I’m PROUD OF IT.

        While my classmates were chilling and partying, I was building savings and learning business skills – specifically accounting.

        And Now I’m a master of the universe.

        Minimum wage jobs are NOT supposed to give people paid absence.

        Minimum wage jobs are designed for TEENAGERS – not adults -with responsibilities.

        These idiots actually think someone is gonna give them paid sick days, paid maternity leave and paid vacation time?

        AM I IN BIZARRO WORLD???

        I was paid $10 an hour in Circuit City back in 2003
        I was paid $8.50 an hour in 2005 at Best Buy store 483.

        I QUIT Best Buy…focused on my education and licensing and I moved forward.

        I DON’T WANNA HEAR JACK about MINIMUM WAGE while these dummies have iPHONES, CARS, and other creature comforts that are reserved for people with real jobs.

        Tell em to keep praying to Bernie Sanders.

        NO I’ts TIME FOR YOU PEOPLE TO WAKE UP.

        Fiscal Conservatism before these PATHETIC leaders drive us into $21 Trillion of national debt.

        My credit score is EXCELLENT – all 3 of them.

        If I can handle it, why isn’t this country SMARTER?

        It’s because of all these WELFARE CASES.

        BUT WE are GOING TO MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          No, that’s not what “minimum wage” means. It means “I’d pay you less, but I legally can’t.”

          “Minimum wage jobs are designed for TEENAGERS – not adults -with responsibilities.”

          that’s great and all, but that presumes most adults are employed. In case you slept through the past decade, there were a few years not that long ago which saw a lot of people lose their jobs.

          and despite what you “bootstraps” people like to screech, getting another job is not as simple as going down to the Job Store and picking a new one off of the shelf.

        • 0 avatar
          Maymar

          So, if minimum wage jobs are just for teenagers, who does the minimum wage jobs when high school is in session?

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @BARFO – I really don’t think you can believe the sh!t you put forward here on TTAC. If you are attempting to market yourself I’d say slow down with the crap comments.

        That knife cuts both ways……

        and

        this……..

        We have one standing up to his neck in masculine bovine effluvia and somehow finds a tall pile from a different critter more offensive.

        That my friends, is the pot calling the kettle black.

        • 0 avatar
          MeaMaximaCulpa

          Dude, stop being micro aggressive, the kettle isn’t “black”, that’s very insensitive and rude of you. The kettle is Iron-American and nothing else!

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @MeaMaximaCulpa –

            Oops.

            Sorry.

            I didn’t know calling a kettle or pot “black” was offensive.

            I’m not worthy.

            I’ve met someone more liberal than I am.

            My avatar is having an identity crisis.

            LOL

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    The government grant isn’t “to help cover some of the cost of retooling,” it’s for an r&d facility that’s operated jointly with a university.

    Almost half of this post was about something that happened years ago and isn’t related by much more than geography. The rest of it isn’t much more informative.

    It would have been interesting to know what FCA and the university are researching, and what else they plan to do with the money.

  • avatar
    brettc

    Well, at least there’s some temporary job security for the people in Windsor and it makes Kathleen Wynne look good for a while until the next dumb thing she does.

  • avatar
    CrapBox

    It’s about time. I agree completely with the idea of taking tax dollars from my crappy job in order to fund someone else’s good job. Now excuse me while I return to training my Indian replacement.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      CrapBox –

      “Indian”

      Is that meaning someone from India or First Nations/Aboriginal type of “Indian”?

      Either way, it’s racist.

      It could be worse, all of those Syrians entering Canada need jobs.

      Maybe Trump towers can hire a few.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    How about some funds to fix the goofy styling; especially the Lancia-esque rear side window treatment.

    • 0 avatar
      iNeon

      Saw one of these on the way back from visiting my parents over the weekend(THE Dart got 47.8MPG!) and this is the most elegant van currently available.

      It’s pretty. Pretty.

      A minivan?

      Pretty.

  • avatar
    VoGo

    I hate the way these ICE carmakers constantly get handouts from governments. They would go bankrupt (again and again) if left to fend for themselves in the free market.

  • avatar
    fishiftstick

    Ontario’s government makes Puerto Rico’s look like a model of fiscal restraint. They went $300 million over budget on the pointless Pan Am games, and blew $100 million on NOT building a power plant. At that rate, $86 million for a minivan factory is a bargain.

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