Chrysler not close to deal on multibillion-dollar Ontario investment

Thu Feb 13, 2014 3:46pm EST
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By Solarina Ho

TORONTO (Reuters) - Chrysler Group LLC is more than halfway toward making a deal with the Canadian government on a proposed multibillion-dollar investment to upgrade its two Ontario facilities, including its minivan assembly plant in Windsor, its top executive said on Thursday.

Sergio Marchionne, the chief executive officer of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Group (FCA), had previously said the decision hinged on economic incentives from Canada and the province of Ontario.

Chrysler's proposal would be the single largest investment made by any automaker in Canada since before the financial crisis, Marchionne said, and would also be the largest investment by the company since Fiat helped to rescue Chrysler from bankruptcy in 2009.

"We're not even close to a resolution of a proposal that is acceptable to us," Marchionne told reporters at the opening of the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto, adding that he thought they were "over 50 percent" of the way toward making a deal.

Marchionne would not confirm the investment amount being discussed, but said it would cost at least $2 billion to build a completely brand-new multi-vehicle assembly platform at the Windsor plant.

Windsor is Chrysler's only minivan assembly operation and Marchionne said the proposed investment would mean the jobs at that plant would have "substantial longevity" if market demand remained in place.

Representatives in other countries, including the United States and Mexico, have already approached the automaker in hopes of luring its minivan business away from Canada, he said.

The amount other jurisdictions would offer are likely more than what would be offered from a Canadian proposal, he added.   Continued...

A Chrysler badge is pictured on a new car at a dealership in Vienna, Virginia April 26, 2012. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque