The province of Ontario will be shuttling $85 million into a research and development center run by the University of Windsor and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, premier Kathleen Wynne said June 15.
The investment was announced during an event celebrating the University of Windsor/FCA Automotive Research and Development Centre’s (ARDC) 20th anniversary, and will be used to fund enhanced research at the centre, as well as for improved training and technology upgrades at FCA’s Windsor assembly plant.
“It’s no surprise that Fiat Chrysler chose Ontario for the production of its first-ever minivans using plug-in hybrid technology,” Wynne said, referring to the new 2017 Pacifica Hybrid minivan assembled in Windsor.
“Ontario is a global leader in the auto sector, with competitive business costs, a highly skilled workforce and a commitment to sustainable innovation. We will continue to work with the auto industry, including our partners in Detroit, to support and encourage investment, employment and innovation in the industry.”
FCA has invested more than $2 billion in its Canadian operations and added in excess 1,200 new jobs here in the past 18 months, Reid Bigland, FCA Canada president and CEO, added.
The ARDC, which FCA calls a “first-of-its-kind Canadian partnership between industry and academia,” was started in 1996, and “plays an important role in the product development of nearly every vehicle produced by FCA.”
The centre employs 180 people and is responsible for a wide variety of rigorous testing regimens. The ARDC also works with universities like McMaster, Waterloo and Windsor on advanced powertrain and lightweighting research.