Changes could be coming to the Chrysler minivan plant in Windsor by the end of 2013, company CEO Sergio Marchionne said Monday.
The comments come as media from all over the world got a preview of the North American International Auto Show. The show opens to the public on Saturday.
Marchionne said Chrysler is in the process of "finalizing style choices" for the new minivan.
"In an ideal world, if we could get all our ducks lined up, we could start as early at 2013 to start industrializing the plant," Marchionne said.
The Chrysler CEO stressed the new minivan would not be ready for the marketplace until late 2014 or early 2015.
He also said the new minivan could also become a "plug-in hybrid" type vehicle.
However, Marchionne said it's too early to tell whether the minivan will be going hybrid.
"Certainly the architecture exists and is capable of doing all those things," he added.
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Marchionne said the vehicle would do everything the old van did "and more."
The number of seats wouldn't change, but the van would "ultimately offer all-wheel drive capabilities," he added.
Marchionne kept it short when asked if Chrysler was seeking financial aid from the Ontario government to upgrade the minivan plant.
"We're not going to negotiate this on the air," Marchionne said.
When pressed for details, Marchionne said Chrysler will be looking for assistance "that will make sure this is the least costly solution to the problem Chrysler has in terms of replacing the minivan."
Auto analyst Dennis DesRosiers said governments supporting the auto industry is nothing new.
"Every single state, every single country in the world is supporting the auto industry with some sort of financial assistance," DesRosiers said. "We have to play the game if we expect to get investment, plain and simple."
Brad Duguid, Ontario’s minister of economic development and innovation, said the province and automakers are discussing a number of proposals.
He wouldn't say what projects were planned.
"This is a good place for auto manufacturers to be," Duguid said. "Future mandates will be challenging for us."
Marchionne said "obviously we are in discussions" with the Ontario government.