Marchionne: ‘Done’ discussing minivan plant’s future

An employee installs interior parts on a minivan at Chrysler’;s plant in Windsor, Ontario, in a file photo.

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DETROIT — A terse Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne advised reporters that he was “done” discussing the prolonged-phrase future of the automaker’s Windsor assembly plant right after the firm withdrew its controversial request for Canadian government help for the plant’s upgrade.

Speaking at a celebration of the launch of the redesigned Chrysler 200 sedan in Sterling Heights, Mich., Marchionne said Chrysler and Fiat weren’t interested in efforts in Canada to restart discussions on an incentive bundle to safe the plant in which all of Chrysler’s minivans are created.

People discussions ended abruptly this month following feedback from Canadian politicians calling the request a “ransom” and “corporate welfare” turned the process into what Chrysler called “a political football.”

‘That chapter is closed’;

“Chrysler is not in the company of accepting handouts. And if provincial and federal authorities in Canada think that’s the way to appeal to foreign investment, I consider they are in for a big shock,” Marchionne said. “It doesn’t matter. It is gone. That chapter is closed. Fiat-Chrysler has moved on. The agenda, from my standpoint, is complete.”

Marchionne explained Chrysler had been in discussions with Ontario and federal officials about assist for a $ 2 billion upgrade for the Windsor plant and the up coming-generation minivan for 9 months. The Windsor plant was to get $ 1 billion in upgrades, Marchionne said, comparable to what was spent to “reinvigorate” the Sterling Heights Assembly plant in which the 200 goes into production on Monday.

“This is a personal capital investment determination by Chrysler Canada that it will make on its personal terms. It’s asking nothing at all of anybody. It is our determination,” Marchionne said when asked by journalists about what it would or wouldn’t do in Windsor.

Plant preparations for Chrysler’s redesigned minivans, the Chrysler Town & Nation and the Dodge Grand Caravan, are expected to begin later this year in Windsor.

On to SHAP

Marchionne’s pointed remarks about Windsor have been stark in comparison to the praise that he heaped earlier on the Sterling Heights plant, identified as SHAP.

“The revitalization of SHAP is an apt symbol of how far Chrysler has come simply because of the courage and resilience of our men and women,” Marchionne said in prepared remarks. “This plant was scheduled to shut by the finish of 2010. But the employees and the leaders of this local community refused to accept this verdict as final.”

The now 5-million-square-foot factory had been deemed an undesired asset as Chrysler entered bankruptcy safety in 2009 and set the factory to close at the end of 2010. But as Chrysler recovered from bankruptcy, it speedily found that it needed the factory’s capacity — specially right after the organization restyled the Sebring and renamed it the Chrysler 200.

Sales of the renamed 200 shot up following it was incorporated in a Super Bowl business featuring Detroit rapper Eminem in 2011.

Chrysler has invested much more than $ one billion in the Sterling Heights plant that, in the 1950s, constructed the Redstone and Jupiter missiles that propelled each the nation’s nuclear deterrent and its area system. The investments additional a new paint and physique shop and now operates much more than 1,100 robots inside the factory, located about 15 miles north of downtown Detroit. There are 2,775 personnel at Sterling Heights, including about 200 salaried employees.

You can reach Larry P. Vellequette at lvellequette@crain.com.

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