Fiat-Chrysler Finally Gets Some Government Cash for Its Minivan Plant
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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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.
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.