QUEEN’S PARK – Premier Kathleen Wynne attended a special 20th anniversary event at the University of Windsor/FCA Research and Development Centre to announce support for the first plug-in hybrid electric minivan to be built in North America, the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid. “It’s no surprise that Fiat Chrysler chose Ontario for the production of its first-ever minivans using plug-in hybrid technology. Ontario is a global leader in the auto sector, with competitive business costs, a highly skilled workforce and a commitment to sustainable innovation. And through our Climate Change Action Plan, we are supporting the transition to electric and hybrid vehicles. We will continue to work with the auto industry, including our partners in Detroit, to support and encourage investment, employment and innovation in the industry,” stated Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario.
Ontario is partnering with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Canada (FCA Canada) to support production of the minivan at the Windsor Assembly Plant. The project will safeguard the facility, has created 1,200 new jobs and will secure 4,000 existing positions. It will also support thousands of direct and indirect jobs across Ontario’s automotive supply chain.
“Fiat Chrysler is a significant employer in Ontario, and important contributor to our overall economic growth. We are pleased to work closely with them through this substantial investment, which has secured thousands of jobs and $1 billion in private sector investment. Working with Ontario’s auto industry to lead the next wave of vehicle technologies, including alternative fuels and connected and autonomous cars, is absolutely essential for the sector’s long-term future. In this fiercely competitive global economy, investments like these by Fiat Chrysler send a message that Ontario is a great place to build the vehicles of tomorrow,” said Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development and Growth.
“In the last 18 months, FCA has invested in excess of $2 billion for the benefit of our Canadian operations and added over 1,200 new jobs. We are grateful for the support of the Ontario government and appreciate our strong working relationship. We are proud of our world-class workforce, the new research capabilities of the ARDC and the exciting new Chrysler Pacifica,” commented Reid Bigland, President and CEO, FCA Canada.
“Collaboration between academia and industry is at the heart of innovative clusters around the world. The University of Windsor is proud of its twenty-year partnership with FCA Canada in ARDC, the country’s largest automotive research centre. As at every university and college in Ontario, we have researchers and creative minds that want to bring solutions to the challenges and opportunities that our province’s industries are navigating. We are very grateful to the many ways in which the province is supporting that goal,” said Alan Wildeman, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Windsor.
Ontario will provide up to $85.8 million in funding to FCA Canada from the Jobs and Prosperity Fund for enhanced research at the Automotive Research and Development Centre and to support the world-class workforce at the Windsor Assembly Plant through advanced training and plant upgrades for the production of the Chrysler Pacifica. This investment builds on Ontario’s competitive advantages by supporting a highly skilled workforce and a business climate that enables innovative research. The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid will also contribute to the transition to a low-carbon economy.
Later today, the Premier will participate in a fireside chat at the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association conference in Windsor before travelling to Detroit for meetings with the Ford Motor Company and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.
Premier Wynne’s visit to Michigan marks the beginning of her three-city tour of the U.S. Over the next three days, the Premier will visit Detroit, Washington and Boston to increase trade and strengthen partnerships between Ontario and the U.S.
The Premier will meet with federal and regional officials in Washington tomorrow to build positive relationships with U.S. legislators and advance Ontario’s trade priorities, including the softwood lumber and dairy industries.
On Friday, the Premier will travel to Boston to promote Ontario’s leadership in innovation and expertise in the information and communications technology and financial services sectors. While in Boston, the Premier will meet with Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker to discuss new trade opportunities and share ideas on developing innovative, knowledge-based economies.
Maintaining an innovative and sustainable auto sector and increasing international trade are part of the government’s economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes investing in talent and skills, including helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education. The plan is making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario’s history and investing in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement.
- FCA Canada directly employs over 11,000 people across Ontario at their headquarters in Windsor, and at their assembly plants in Windsor and Brampton, a stamping plant in Etobicoke and an Automotive Research and Development Centre created in partnership with the University of Windsor.
- The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid will be eligible for rebate incentives under the province’s new Climate Change Action Plan.
- Ontario is investing $20 million to work with public and private sector partners to create a network of fast-charging electric vehicle stations in cities, along highways and at workplaces, apartments, condominiums and public places across Ontario.
- Ontario is the first Canadian province to allow on-road testing of automated vehicles and it is home to almost 100 companies and institutions involved in connected vehicle and automated vehicle technologies.
- Ontario and Michigan’s economies are strongly connected through the auto sector — each year, more than 95 per cent of Ontario’s automotive industry manufacturing shipments are sent to the United States.