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Ford speaks with Stellantis, urges solution to get Windsor plant back to full capacity

Author of the article:

Anne Jarvis

Publishing date:

Oct 19, 2021  •  16 hours ago  •  1 minute read  •  5 Comments

Ontario Premier Doug Ford was in Windsor Monday making a funding announcement for the new hospital. Photo by Dan Janisse /Windsor Star

Premier Doug Ford reaffirmed his commitment to Ontario’s auto industry Tuesday, telling Stellantis officials that the government “is focused on making the necessary investments to ensure that Ontario remains a leader in auto manufacturing, including electric vehicles and battery technology.”

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Ford and Economic Development Minister Vic Fedeli spoke with Mark Stewart, chief operating officer of FCA-North America, and Dave Buckingham, CEO of FCA Canada, about the company’s plan to eliminate another shift at the Windsor Assembly Plant next April.

The premier expressed his disappointment with the decision, which will cost 1,800 direct jobs and likely hundreds more at feeder plants, his office said in a statement late Tuesday.

Stellantis reiterated that the decision, announced last Friday, is the result of the global shortage of semiconductor chips and other economic pressures because of the pandemic.

Ford encouraged the company to work with Unifor, which is preparing a business case for an alternative solution, “to ensure that everything is being done to get the plant back to operating at full capacity.”

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Stellantis, Windsor’s biggest private sector employer with 4,500 employees, already cut the minivan plant’s third shift in 2020.

But the company has confirmed that it still plans to invest $1.5 billion to retool the plant to produce plug-in and hybrid electric vehicles by 2024. That will add 2,000 jobs, and the plant will return to three shifts.

The provincial and federal governments are making a “huge” investment in that plan, Ford said Monday during a visit to Windsor. The two levels of government will invest “in the hundreds of millions of dollars,”  he said.

He also called for a battery manufacturing plant here.

“I’m going to be pushing Stellantis very, very hard to twin their operations,” he said Monday.

More On This Topic

  1. Stellantis assures Unifor Windsor Assembly Plant’s future is secure

  2. Ford says he’s pro-immigration, declines to apologize for comments

Ontario’s auto industry employs tens of thousands of people.

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