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USA: Chrysler won't decide until next year on building new Canadian plant agreed with union - report

By just-auto.com editorial team | 23 October 2002

DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler unit will decide late next year whether to construct a Windsor, Ontario, plant that its Canadian union pushed for to avert a strike, Bloomberg News reported.

Bloomberg said that Chrysler is investigating whether it can make a business case to build the plant, which would assemble an unspecified vehicle and create 1,000 jobs.

DaimlerChrysler's conditional agreement last week to build the factory helped the company and the Canadian Auto Workers negotiate a three-year labour contract, Bloomberg said. Workers ratified the contract over the weekend.

"The C.A.W. contract was the first step in achieving this," Chrysler CEO Dieter Zetsche said in a statement.

"Moving forward, we need to develop long-term partnerships with suppliers and all levels of government, as well.  For suppliers, that may even include taking equity in the project.  One example is that a supplier might operate the body shop or the paint shop in its entirety, including investment and staffing."

Final site alternatives are still being explored, added Zetsche.  The company's Pillette Road site (where the Dodge Ram full-size van, scheduled to cease production in summer of 2003, is built) is being considered, as well as other locations in the Windsor area.  All options will incorporate greenfield concepts. 

An announcement on the vehicle to be produced there would be made later.

If the business case becomes viable, the company anticipates creating approximately 1,000 DaimlerChrysler Canada jobs when the new Windsor area facility begins production no later than the fourth quarter of 2005.  It is also expected that another 1,500 jobs could be created at various supplier companies on the manufacturing site.

Bloomberg News noted that Chrysler has said it will meet with federal, provincial and municipal governments to discuss incentives to build the plant.