By Jeff Gilbert

AUBURN HILLS — (WWJ) Chrysler says it’s next generation minivan will be built in Windsor, ending concerns that it may close the 86 year old Windsor Minivan Plant.

“Chrysler has also confirmed its intention to begin to allocate to our Windsor, Ontario plant the development and industrialization of the next “people carrier” architecture (the so-called next minivan and derivatives),” read a release from the company. “It has also confirmed that the Brampton facility will benefit from the substantial product intervention on both the Chrysler 300, and the Dodge family of products (Charger and Challenger) it currently produces. Some of these interventions will be in market as early as the second half of 2014.”

More than 4600 people work at the Windsor Minivan plant, and they had been very concerned about the future. Nobody’s been available for comment yet from the local union, which found out about the decision when WWJ contacted them.

“Our commitment to Canada remains strong,” said Sergio Marchionne, Chairman and Chief Executive of Chrysler Group LLC.

Marchionne, who has been vocal about his concerns of the expense of operating in Canada, had also become frustrated with efforts to seek help from the Canadian government. Chrysler says it’s now dropping that effort, and will seek to finance the project through private sources.

“We have been active participants of the Canadian economy for nearly 90 years, both as a manufacturer and as a seller of cars, trucks and vans,” he said. “It is my sincere hope that all stakeholders involved commit to do what they can to preserve the competitiveness of the country, and in particular of the province of Ontario. We will do what we can to preserve and nurture the competitiveness of our operations, but we reserve the right, as is true for all global manufacturers, to reassess our position as conditions change.”

Chrysler did not release any details of planned investments to prepare the way for the next generation minivan, and a crossover vehicle that will be built on the same platform.


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