Chrysler Group's Windsor minivan plant is poised to grab a share of funds that Canada's federal government has pledged to keep auto plants operating there.
A budget approved last week by federal lawmakers in Ottawa included more than $500 million Canadian in incentive money.
The funds become available as Chrysler negotiates with officials in Ottawa and Ontario for incentives to upgrade the Windsor plant. Chrysler-Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne said the planned investment in the plant exceeds $2 billion Canadian.
The company plans to overhaul the plant to build a redesigned Chrysler minivan and a Dodge vehicle that won't be a minivan, according to Marchionne. The Windsor plant receives high scores in the automaker's World Class Manufacturing system.
The Windsor plant needs improvements to its body and paint shops. Chrysler also wants to install a metrology center, in which workers carefully measure the fit and finish of each process on the assembly line to improve quality. The upgrades could enable the plant to eventually build a wider range of products.
Canada's finance minister, Jim Flaherty, told reporters that the money would not all go to Chrysler.
Given Chrysler's recent experience upgrading its Toledo Assembly Complex for the 2014 Jeep Cherokee, the automaker is unlikely to shut down production of its minivans for very long while the plant switches over.
Marchionne called the Toledo shutdown a mistake that wouldn't be repeated because it left dealers without a mid-sized SUV to sell for nearly a year.