Chrysler near announcement on minivan production

Marchionne: "We have taken a position."

Photo credit: BLOOMBERG
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GENEVA -- Chrysler Group has made a decision on the future of minivan production at its Windsor, Ontario, plant and will make it public within two days, CEO Sergio Marchionne said today.

"I think it will become evident over the next 24 to 48 hours that we have taken a position, and life will go on," Marchionne told reporters at the auto show here.

"I think the decision has been made. We're in the position of finalizing the choice. We're pretty well done."

Marchionne, who grew up in Canada, did not say whether Chrysler would keep making minivans in Windsor. But during his press conference, Marchionne said executives of multinational companies cannot be bound by national loyalties.

He said that the completion of the January merger between Fiat and Chrysler into Fiat Chrysler Automotive "flattened the world out completely."

Marchionne has been weighing whether to build the next-generation Chrysler Town and Country and Dodge Caravan in Windsor. He has said Canada's business climate is not competitive with that of other countries.

In a recent report, Bloomberg said that Chrysler is negotiating with federal and provincial governments in Canada for loans for modifications of factories in Windsor and Brampton, Ontario. The article cited a report by the Globe and Mail of Toronto that it had proposed incentives for the minivan plants were as much as $700 million Canadian, or about $637 million.

Marchionne said today that he is not looking for subsidies but wants a "level playing field" in terms of costs of production.

"If a country is undertaking any sort of commitment to an industrial policy, I think it needs to recognize that those choices come with an obligation to match and effectively equal what the competition is offering," Marchionne said.

You can reach Dave Guilford at dguilford@crain.com. -- Follow Dave on


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