Chrysler Canada Begins RHD Van Production

WINDSOR, Ont. (CP) -- Chrysler's assembly plant in Windsor, Ont., has begun producing right-hand drive minivans for international markets as the Canadian carmaker's U.S. parent cements its partnership with Italian carmaker Fiat.

The Windsor plant was retooled late last year and was supposed to begin producing the Chrysler Grand Voyager in early 2009.

However, those plans were put on hold as Chrysler began a restructuring process that eventually saw it enter bankruptcy protection in the U.S. and strike a production partnership with Fiat.

Under that deal, Chrysler will use Fiat technology to produce small cars in North America while Fiat will promote and market minivans and other Chrysler vehicles overseas. In Europe, the steering wheel is on the right side of the vehicle.

Chrysler has been increasing production in Canada and the United States in response to improved demand over the last few weeks.

Chrysler Canada president and CEO Reid Bigland says the new product line will help preserve Canadian jobs.

The Windsor plant is Chrysler's only plant operating with a full three shifts, and all 4,600 employees are working full-time again.

More in Operations