The head of Chrysler and Fiat, Sergio Marchionne, repeated Friday in Michigan that the company was no longer interested in using public funds to re-tool its plants in Windsor and Brampton. Marchionne toured the company's Sterling Heights plant on Friday before taking questions from the media.
"As far as I'm concerned this process is over," said Marchionne of any potential for future talks with the federal and Ontario governments.
At the auto show in Detroit in January, Marchionne told journalists that investments in Windsor and Brampton could depend on government investment and union concessions. Then, in early March, the company withdrew all requests for government financial assistance.
"I repeat here and I make it public - Chrysler is not in the business of accepting handouts. And if provincial and federal authorities in Canada think that's the way to attract foreign investments, I think you are in for a big shock," he said.
Marchionne would not say how much money was being invested in the mini-van plant in Windsor or in Brampton. He did confirm investment in plants in both cities was happening.
Chrysler employs 4,600 hourly workers in Windsor and nearly 3,000 in Brampton.
The lack of detail worried Tim McGuire, who works for the company in Windsor.
"A lot of people put their heart and souls into this place and I think we're deserving of everything because of what we've done for them," he said. "We've bent over backwards for the last decade not asking for much other than job security."
Marchionne would not comment on talks between the company and Unifor, the union representing Chrysler workers in Windsor.
Auto expert Tony Faria said the modernization of the Sterling Heights plant could foreshadow changes in Windsor.
"They [Sterling Heights] got an entirely new paint shop, a new operating system, new robotics, new tooling, new assembly line, new architecture for the ... global automotive platform," said Faria. "Which will allow the Sterling Heights plant to build four five or six different products simultaneously at the plant. It's the type of upgrade that Sergio Marchionne once spoke about with regards to the Windsor Assembly plant."
When asked what will happen to the Assembly plant in the future, Marchionne replied "hopefully, in 2016, there will be a new minivan on the market."