'It's a match made in heaven': Stellantis announces $3.6 billion investment in electric vehicle manufacturing

Stellantis announced major investments in electric vehicle manufacturing Monday, including retooling the Windsor Assembly Plant and building two new research and development centres.

Ontario is attracting a $3.6 billion investment from Stellantis in the automaker’s Windsor and Brampton plants.

The investments are expected to accelerate the creation of one of the most vertically integrated electric vehicle supply chains in North America.

“We hope today’s announcement really helps bring assurance to our families, to our employees, to our local community that we are committed to Canada for the long run and for the next 100 years,” said Mark Stewart, chief operating officer, FCA – North America.

“It’s a match made in heaven, so to speak. Has been for a long time and will be for the coming years.”

Stellantis will retool and modernize the plants in Windsor and Brampton, converting them to flexible, multi-energy vehicle assembly facilities ready to produce the electric vehicles of the future. Officials say the Windsor Assembly Plant will return to a three-shift operation when the changes are in place.

“These are game-changing announcements” Mayor Drew Dilkens said. “And each of them in their own right is incredible, but when you layer them together you truly start to see the bigger picture of what’s happening here. And for the future of our city this will be beneficial and pay dividends for decades to come.

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

“Let’s seize the moment. Let’s keep the momentum going. Let’s keep the wind in our sails. Let’s be ambitious as I know the people of Windsor have always been,” Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry Francois Philippe Champagne said. “And the folks in the auto sector in Ontario. And let’s lead the green and industrial revolution together.”

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

“Ontario has everything it needs to be North America’s auto manufacturing powerhouse once again,” said Premier Doug Ford. “Where other governments stood by and watched jobs flee this province, we are getting it done and ensuring that cars of the future are made in Ontario by Ontario workers.”

Premier Ford, Prime Minister @JustinTrudeau, Minister @VictorFedeli and Minister @FP_Champagne make an announcement in #Windsor https://t.co/Cs6ivbpRUU

— Doug Ford (@fordnation) May 2, 2022

Stellantis will build a new, flexible, multi-energy vehicle assembly line at its Windsor plant. The 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. Ontario is supporting the retooling with a commitment of up to $287 million.

“These 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,” said Stewart.

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

The Unifor Windsor Regional Environment Council released a statement Monday afternoon applauding the announcement.

“It is proof-positive that the environment and the economy can both be successful at the same time. These good-paying auto sector jobs will build the clean electric vehicles of the future while protecting our environment and reducing greenhouse gases while having a positive impact on global warming at the same time,” council president Richard St. Denis said. “Canada will be a world leader in the transformative vehicle manufacturing for generations to come.”

Stellantis 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 is expected to establish Ontario as a major R&D hub for the company across all stages of production – from design to development.

“It’ll deliver for workers, it’ll deliver for communities, it’ll deliver for the economy and it’ll deliver for the environment,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.

In addition to R&D, the centres aim to provide major opportunities for local talent, universities, colleges, and start-ups to participate in the development of Ontario’s EV ecosystem.

“I can’t imagine of a better place than Windsor to make this announcement, where generations of hard working Canadians have demonstrated what we are all capable of,” Trudeau said. “Thank you Windsor for representing us so strongly on the auto industry on the world stage and thank you to everyone who made this happen.”

The hubs will be central to Stellantis’ R&D operations in North America and serve the company’s worldwide needs for technology, process and product development. Ontario is supporting the R&D investment with a commitment of up to $94 million.

“We are in the middle of the biggest revolution in the auto industry since the conception of the assembly line in 1913. Now, because of Unifor’s auto-bargaining vision, Ontario is well placed to play an essential role in the new motoring revolution,” said Dave Cassidy, Unifor Local 444 president.

At its Brampton Assembly Plant, Stellantis will install a flexible assembly line capable of producing battery-electric and hybrid vehicles. This overhaul will diversify the automaker’s capacity to meet growing consumer demand for low-emission vehicles. Ontario’s commitment of up to $132 million helps secure the long-term future of the facility in Brampton.

- With files from CTV Windsor's Rich Garton