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Dave Battagello, Windsor Star
March 1, 2019
The head of Canada’s Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association estimates there could potentially be a 10-per-cent economic boost to industry in the Windsor area equating to roughly 3,000 new jobs thanks to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ US$4.5-billion announcement that includes a new auto assembly plant in Detroit.
“Any new plant at full capacity drives about $10 billion of supplies per year,” said Flavio Volpe, president for APMA. “The plant in Detroit will likely create a demand for $2 to $3 billion of parts from southwest Ontario. The closer you are to the plant, the closer you will be in on that $2 or $3 billion.”
“I’m hearing Ontario missed out on this one, but in our business Michigan is Ontario. Sure, you would like to have this in Windsor but Detroit from an operating point of view is sure a lot better than Alabama or (Mexico).”
“It shows FCA really did its homework”
FCA has announced it will reopen a shuttered engine plant in Detroit and convert another in the same complex into a future assembly plant for the Jeep Grand Cherokee and a new, three-row, full-size Jeep SUV and plug-in hybrid models.
“Anybody who supplies Jeep or FCA already will get a chance at new business,” Volpe said.
He estimated that currently, about one-third of Ontario’s auto parts manufacturing sector or related industry is in the Windsor or Essex County area equating to about 33,000 jobs.
“The new plant could trigger an added 10 per cent of business and new job opportunities,” said Volpe, who put the number around 3,000 jobs created.
“There will be a bump. There will be new jobs created and new (production) volumes. And the security of these type of jobs just got more solid.”
He expects local parts production, plus the local tool industry will really kick into gear in about three or four years, also aided by the change in rules under the upcoming new NAFTA agreement.
“To be frank it shows FCA really did its homework.” Volpe said. “I’m sure another bridge (Gordie Howe International Bridge) and the timing of it also fits in nicely with this. You will be able to even better take advantage of the supply opportunities in the Windsor area.”
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