January 14, 2014 / 4:23 PM / in 4 years

Chrysler CEO pressures Canadians on minivan investment

DETROIT (Reuters) - The chief executive officer of Chrysler Group LLC, which has said it wants to invest more than $1 billion to modernize a Canadian minivan plant, said on Tuesday the automaker may scrap the upgrade and take production and jobs elsewhere if government and labor officials fail to come through with financial assistance and other incentives and concessions.

Fiat Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne poses during a visit at the carmaker's Sevelsud plant in Atessa, central Italy, July 9, 2013. REUTERS/Remo Casilli

Speaking to reporters at the Detroit auto show, Sergio Marchionne said keeping production at the assembly plant across the river in Windsor, Ontario, was contingent on a deal to cut costs. He also said that time was running short to find a solution.

“We’re at the point now where we’re weeks away from making a final call.”

“I had a chat yesterday (with Ontario officials),” said Marchionne. “It went well. They understand the issues. The issues are a variety of things. It’s costs and a variety of things. We have to create the conditions for this to be a successful investment. It’s that simple.”

Marchionne said Chrysler officials were meeting with Canadian federal officials from Ottawa on Wednesday.

Marchionne is chief executive of both Chrysler and its parent, Fiat SpA FIA.MI.

Reporting by Bernie Woodall and Laurence Frost; writing by James B. Kelleher; editing by Matthew Lewis

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