New Chrysler Business Plan Promising News for Canadian Workers, CAW President says

November 5, 2009, 9:59 AM EST

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CAW President Ken Lewenza has reacted positively to the new business plan for Chrysler Group LLC that was presented to analysts, reporters, and Chrysler stakeholders at a special session today in Auburn Hills, Michigan.

"This plan for turning around Chrysler is creative, credible, and exciting," Lewenza said. "Chrysler's new management team, including leadership from Fiat, has some tremendous ideas for quickly improving the appeal, quality, and fuel-efficiency of Chrysler's products."

"There would be many significant positive spin-offs for Canada from the successful implementation of this plan," Lewenza added.

Lewenza attended the Auburn Hills briefing along with CAW Economist Jim Stanford.

Highlights of the plan for Chrysler's Canadian plants include:

* The complete redesign of the interior and exterior of the Dodge and Chrysler minivans produced in Windsor.

* Launch of new models of the 300 and Charger vehicles at the Brampton assembly plant, beginning in 2010. 

* A new marketing strategy to modernize marketing efforts for Dodge vehicles (several of which are produced in Canada), and separate them from the new Ram brand being created for Chrysler's trucks.

* A complete overhaul of Chrysler quality management that is already dramatically improving quality scores.

* Implementation of Fiat's World Class Manufacturing program, including in Chrysler's Canadian plants.  CAW members are participating in and adapting to this important change.

* An aggressive effort to sell Chrysler products (in some cases co-marketed with Fiat's Lancia brand) in offshore markets, thus offsetting some of Canada's large and persistent auto trade deficit with non-NAFTA jurisdictions.  

"We are optimistic that Chrysler's plan will help Chrysler workers to move past the incredible insecurity they have experienced in the past couple of years."

Lewenza praised the decision of the federal and Ontario governments to participate in the rescue of Chrysler earlier this year, in return for a guaranteed 20% share of future Chrysler production.

"That assured Canadian footprint, combined with this turnaround plan, opens the real possibility that we could actually see job gains in Chrysler's Canadian operations by 2012," Lewenza concluded.


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