American tariffs could be 'lethal' to Windsor, says Fiat Chrysler CEO
'There have been no tweets on Canadian production of cars,' said Sergio Marchionne
The head of Fiat Chrysler said tariffs, like the taxes president-elect Donald Trump has recently hinted at for American auto makers in Mexico, could be "lethal" for the company's auto manufacturing in Windsor.
FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne made the comment at the 2017 North American International Auto Show Monday where earlier the Windsor-made Chrysler Pacifica had been named the utility vehicle of the year.
"It's a combination of tariffs and costs," he said. "If we just can't recover the costs of the vehicle that would be lethal, I think, to Windsor."
Marchionne says if Trump puts tariffs in place it could be "lethal" to <a href="https://twitter.com/FiatChrysler_NA">@FiatChrysler_NA</a> operations in Windsor. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NAIAS?src=hash">#NAIAS</a> <a href="https://t.co/AJuusMmGEN">pic.twitter.com/AJuusMmGEN</a>—@CBCWindsor
The auto executive tempered his concerns saying he expects "Canada will not be involved" in any of the trade disputes Trump has been tweeting about.
"To the best of my knowledge there have been no tweets on Canadian production of cars," he quipped, causing a flurry of laughs from American journalists.
Instead, Marchionne said, Trump's criticisms have focused on Mexican production, which the president-elect sees as "more problamatic."
Toyota Motor said will build a new plant in Baja, Mexico, to build Corolla cars for U.S. NO WAY! Build plant in U.S. or pay big border tax.—@realDonaldTrump
"The relationship between Canada and the United States on cars goes a long time back, even before NAFTA," he said. "I would expect that somehow the new administration would be aware of that history and would not necessarily look at Canada as a target."
Pacifica top of its class
By winning the 2017 utility vehicle of the year, Tim Kuniskis, head of passenger brands of FCA, said the Chrysler Pacifica had proved the old idea that "minivans stink" was wrong.
"We're very proud of minivans, we love minivans," he said. "Minivans are the best thing for a family."
Kuniskis added that workers in Windsor had earned the award.
Tim Kuniskis from <a href="https://twitter.com/FiatChrysler_NA">@FiatChrysler_NA</a> says Windsor workers should be proud their Pacifica won utility vehicle of the year <a href="https://twitter.com/NAIASDetroit">@NAIASDetroit</a>. <a href="https://t.co/bUUIXzhfNe">pic.twitter.com/bUUIXzhfNe</a>—@CBCWindsor
"The employees in Windsor should be really proud of this," he said. "The build quality has been fantastic. We're bringing this hardware home to them."