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Ontario, feds to invest over $1B to help Stellantis re-tool, modernize Brampton, Windsor plants

FILE - In this file photo taken on Jan. 19, 2021, the Stellantis sign is seen outside the Chrysler Technology Center in Auburn Hills, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File). CRO

Automaker Stellantis says it will spend $3.4 billion to re-tool and modernize its Brampton and Windsor plants.

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In a press release issued Monday, the Ontario government said the investments will “accelerate the creation of one of the most vertically integrated electric vehicle supply chains in North America.”

Stellantis said it will retool and modernize the two plants, and will convert them to “flexible, multi-energy vehicle assembly facilities” that will be “ready to produce the electric vehicles of the future.”

The company said it will also build two new research and development centres “focusing on electric vehicles and EV battery technology.”

“Ontario is supporting all these critical investments with up to $513 million, with a matching investment from the federal government,” the release reads.

Stellantis said it will also build a new, flexible, multiple-energy vehicle assembly line at its plant in Windsor.

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“This strategic retooling will diversify the company’s capacity by introducing battery-electric or hybrid models to the production line to meet growing consumer demand for low-emissions vehicles,” the release reads.

The province said it is supporting the retooling with up to $287 million.

According to the release, the company will also modernize its automotive research and development centre in Windsor by expanding and building two “Centres of Competency.”

“The Electric Vehicle and Battery Pack Testing Centres of Competency will establish Ontario as a major R&D hub for the company across all stages of production – from design to development,” the release reads. “In addition to R&D, the centres will provide major opportunities for local talent, universities, colleges, and start-ups to participate in the development of Ontario’s EV ecosystem.”

The provincial government said it is supporting the company’s research and development with a $94 million investment.

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Stellantis will also install a “flexible assembly line” which will be capable of producing battery-electric and hybrid vehicles at its Brampton Assembly plant.

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The provincial government has committed up to $132 million to help “secure the long-term future of the facility in Brampton,” according to the release.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford called the announcement a “huge win” for workers and communities all over the province.

“Ontario has everything it needs to be North America’s auto manufacturing power house once again,” he said in a statement in the release.

Ford said the provincial government is “getting it done and ensuring that cars of the future are made in Ontario by Ontario workers.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the federal government is investing in the project because it will “deliver.”

“It’ll deliver for workers, it’ll deliver for communities, it’ll deliver for our economy and it’ll deliver for the environment,” he said. “We’re keeping our air clean by building and driving more EVs here at home.”

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Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, Francois-Philippe Champagne, called the announcement a “big moment” for Canada’s auto sector.

“This is a vote of confidence for our auto sector, and this is a vote of confidence for Canada,” he said at the press conference. “I think we should all be very proud as Canadians today.”

He said “thousands” of families will “see the benefits” of being part of the transition to an electric automotive sector.

“What we’re seeing around the country today is that our vision for the e-vehicle system across the nation is taking form — from the mines to the recycling plant,” he said.

Champagne said Canada needs to “keep the momentum going.”

“We have the wind in our sails. Let’s be ambitious — as I know the people of Windsor have always been, and the folks in the auto sector in Ontario — and let’s lead the green industrial transformation together,” he continued.

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Monday’s announcement comes months after Stellantis and LG Energy Solutions announced a $5 billion investment to make the first large-scale EV battery manufacturing plant in Canada.

Stellantis wants half of its North American vehicle sales to be electric by 2030.

Canada is aiming higher with a goal that one in five new vehicles sold be zero-emissions by 2026 and 60 per cent by 2030. By 2035 Canada intends to bar the sale of new internal-combustion engines in passenger vehicles.

In 2021, EVs exceeded five per cent of the total vehicles purchased for the first time.

In a press release, Stellantis North America’s chief operating officer Mark Stewart, said the investments “re-affirm our long-term commitment to Canada and represent an important step as we move toward zero-emission vehicles that deliver on our customers’ desire for innovative, clean, safe and affordable mobility.”

“We’re grateful to both the federal and provincial governments for their shared vision to create a sustainable future,” he said. “And to Unifor and our workforce for their support in helping ensure the viability of our Canadian operations for the long term.”

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-with files from The Canadian Press


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