DaimlerChrysler Corp. president Dieter Zetsche wants to build the auto maker's new, flexible assembly plant in Ontario, but raised the possibility yesterday that the company could choose Mexico if a deal can't be reached with suppliers and Canadian governments.
"We would like -- and I personally would like -- to end up with this project in Ontario and I'm optimistic that we can accomplish that," Mr. Zetsche said.
"If we find out we can't, then we'll look for other places and Mexico is certainly a very good environment for a plant as well."
The new plant is slated to assemble the Dodge M80 compact pickup truck, a compact sport utility vehicle off the same platform, or basic underbody, possibly the next version of the Jeep Wrangler SUV and perhaps a pickup for Hyundai Motor, another auto maker in the DaimlerChrysler AG family.
Mr. Zetsche said yesterday that there has been no discussion about another DaimlerChrysler auto maker taking an equity stake in the project.
Production volume is expected to be between 200,000 and 250,000 vehicles a year, industry sources said. The target date for the start of production is 2005.
DaimlerChrysler manufactures two vehicles in Canada for every one it sells here, which is one indication that it's a favourable jurisdiction for vehicle assembly, Mr. Zetsche said.