It was win some, lose some for the Canadian motor industry on Monday. Hours after General Motors announced the closure of a car assembly plant and an engine facility in Oshawa, Ontario, with the loss of around 3,750 jobs, DaimlerChrysler’s Chrysler Group said it would invest CDN$768 (US$640)m in its Canadian operations.
The money will go into facilities, flexible manufacturing and automotive research and development and, according to Reuters, includes around CDN$123m in government assistance – CDN$76.8m. from the province of Ontario and CDN$46 million from Canada.
“The support of the Ontario and Federal governments is instrumental in building the business case for new investments in our Canadian operations,” said Chrysler Group president and CEO Tom LaSorda in a statement.
“At the end of the day, this new investment is a combination of government involvement, a responsible new collective agreement with the Canadian Auto Workers union (ratified in September 2005), and ultimately, the market response to the products the Chrysler Group manufactures in Canada.”
DaimlerChrysler will invest CDN$610 m over the next three years at the Windsor assembly plant to prepare it for future new products and to build a new paint facility that will be operational by 2007.
The 185,000-square-foot paint shop will be the most flexible in the Chrysler system, capable of accommodating the dimensions of at least 11 different body styles. The coatings process will be fully automated utilising robots with seven axes of rotation.
A new addition to the paint process in Windsor will be a “paint sludge dryer” where the excess paint in the system is captured, removed of moisture, and then reused in asphalt and automotive parts. The target is to reach zero landfill waste from the operation of this facility.
The steel used for the new paint structure will be 90% reclaimed from the former Pillette assembly plant.
Windsor is the largest of Chrysler’s 14 assembly plants at 4.01 million square feet and is capable of building two completely different vehicle platforms and pilot a third simultaneously on the same production line.
It currently manufactures the Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country minivans and the Chrysler Pacifica sports tourer.
The new investment also provides funding for the University of Windsor/DaimlerChrysler Canada Automotive Research and Development Centre.