CAW: Chrysler To Build Right-Hand-Drive Minivans

TORONTO -- Chrysler Group LLC will crank out a new version of its minivan in Windsor, Ont., beginning next month, the Globe and Mail reported Wednesday.

The Windsor minivan plant will begin production of right-hand-drive diesel versions of one of the auto maker's most successful products, Rick LaPorte, president of Local 444 of the Canadian Auto Workers, told the newspaper.

"We've been told that the goal is to sell 30,000 units annually," LaPorte said from Quebec City, where he is attending the union's annual convention.

"Fiat has also indicated that they're going to put a big marketing push on to sell minivans in Europe."

The move to produce the minivan is the first dividend resulting from the bailout of Chrysler by the federal and Ontario governments -- along with the U.S. government -- which paved the way for the sale of the bankrupt company earlier this year to Italian auto maker Fiat SpA.

It follows a decision by General Motors Co. that was announced on Tuesday to restore a third shift at its Cami Automotive Inc. joint venture in Ingersoll, Ont.

LaPorte said the necessary tooling and equipment to build the vehicles was installed at the plant around the end of last year, before Chrysler went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection but while it was already negotiating with the governments for a financial rescue package.

Ontario and Ottawa provided $3.8 billion as part of a financing package for Chrysler, which went into Chapter 11 protection on April 30 and emerged about a month later.

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