New product in Toyota Cambridge means growth for Windsor spin-offs

The co-founder of Radix Inc. says a new product means spin-offs can have more confidence to start growing their companies.

Radix Inc. co-founder says something positive might happen down the road with FCA as well

Shelley Fellows, co-founder of Radix Inc., says the Toyota new product announcement is delightful news. (CBC News)

Toyota's new product announcements at the Cambridge plant is good news for a Windsor company that supplies the automaker with software.

Radix Inc. creates vision systems for automotive quality inspection, and also supplies auto makers with software for production line equipment.

"As they add product, as they build up volumes, they need more of that equipment. So for us, directly, what that could mean is an increase in sales of our product," said Shelley Fellows, co-founder of Radix.

Last week, the company announced it will be building the Lexus NX luxury SUV as of 2022. Currently the plant in Cambridge and one in Woodstock makes the Toyota RAV4 crossover vehicle and two versions of the Lexus RX.

Toyota announced it will be building the Lexus NX SUV in Cambridge by 2020. ( Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg)

According to Fellows, the spin-off benefits will be felt not just in her company, but in others that also supply Toyota.

"Everything from the bumpers, to the tires, to the headlights. So that part of the supply chain is now going to have new volume, new capacity that they need to fulfil in the Toyota plant," she said.

And now that Toyota has made it clear it is committed to the Cambridge plant, Fellows said it gives companies like Radix the confidence they need to grow their business as well.

Investing in the future

In March, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced it will be shutting down the third shift at the Windsor Assembly Plant, affecting roughly 1,500 workers who will be losing their jobs.

However, Fellows said this Toyota announcement could signal something similarly positive happening in Windsor down the road.

A year ago, Toyota invested $1.4 billion into its Ontario manufacturing plants in Cambridge and Woodstock.

"And now what do they have? They have a new product," said Fellows.

In April, it was reported that FCA will be investing $355 million into the Windsor plant for a future product. Fellows said that's "a very significant" investment into the plant.

"Those kinds of investments are not investments that are made simply to get a return in a year, or two years, those are long-term investments."


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