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May 2, 2022

Stellantis to spend $3.6B on Ontario plants in electric car push

EV transition is unstoppable and accelerating: Tom Rand

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Stellantis NV will invest $3.6 billion (US$2.8 billion) to retool two Canadian assembly plants to build electric vehicles, more than doubling an earlier commitment made during union negotiations.

Stellantis, formed from the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and PSA Group last year, will add a new car platform that can be used to make electric vehicles at its plants in Windsor and Brampton, Ontario, the company said in a statement Monday. The investments will restore employment at the two plants, which have suffered reductions in recent years.

“These investments reaffirm our long-term commitment to Canada and represent an important step as we move toward zero-emission vehicles,” Mark Stewart, the chief operating officer of Stellantis North America, said in the statement.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ontario premier Doug Ford and other Canadian officials attended an event in Windsor Monday announcing the investment. Ford is expected to officially begin his campaign for re-election this week, with Canada’s most populous province going to the polls in June.

The federal government and the province of Ontario will spend up to about $1 billion (US$776 million) to support the project.

The investment shows how Fiat Chrysler, whose late Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne resisted heavy investment in EVs as a loss-making endeavor, is stepping up electrification plans as global emissions regulations tighten. The sprawling manufacturer of nameplates like Jeep, Ram and Fiat is investing US$35 billion globally through 2025 to beef up its electrification and software capabilities.

In March, Stellantis and LG Energy Solution said they would pour more than US$4.1 billion into a joint venture to build a new EV battery plant in Windsor. The 45 gigawatt-hour factory, which is expected to begin operations in 2025, will create 2,500 jobs and supply Stellantis’s assembly facility in Windsor and others across North America.

Windsor, which makes the Chrysler Pacifica minivan, is running on two shifts after cutting a third in 2020. Its second shift is slated to be dropped at the end of 2022. The Brampton plant, which makes the Dodge Charger and Challenger muscle cars, will build at least one new all-electric model model as part of the investment, the company said. 

Both plants are expected to return to three shifts at a later date, the company said.