July 18, 2007
While scrapping plans to build a luxury car at a plant near Toronto, Chrysler still plans to pump a lot of money into the facility to make Chrysler 300s.
Chrysler is expected to announce Thursday that it is moving up its timetable to begin production on a new version of the popular Chrysler 300, from 2011 to 2010, and that its Brampton, Ontario, Canada, assembly facility will begin making versions of the 300 now made in Europe, Canadian Auto Workers union President Buzz Hargrove said.Chrysler builds the 300 for North America at the Brampton facility and uses supplier Magna International to assemble the 300 for European markets.
Hargrove said the plant will take over additional production of the 300s from Magna’s assembly plant in Austria, meaning the Brampton plant will be making both right- and left-hand drive vehicles, as well as a diesel version.
The Brampton plant also makes the Dodge Charger and Magnum. The assembly and stamping operations employ 4,200 people, according to a Chrysler Web page.
Chrysler signed an agreement with the local union Tuesday promising to invest $1.2 billion in developing the new 300, Hargrove said.
It’s expected that will mean a $500 million investment into the actual Brampton facility. A company spokeswoman declined comment.
“People will be extremely happy,” Hargrove said about the announcement.
Union leaders expect Chrysler Executive Vice President Frank Ewasyshyn to be at the Brampton plant for the announcement Thursday.
In March, the local union approved contract concessions, hoping to secure the Chrysler investment. Many feared that company products would be moved elsewhere and plant jobs lost if the changes weren't approved.
The current version of the 300 was introduced in the spring of 2004 and was wildly popular, pushing Chrysler’s sales up and helping the company’s image and bottom line.