MONTREAL, Jan 10: Honda will invest USD 372 million in its Alliston factory north of Toronto, with financial support from the federal government and province of Ontario, Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains has said.
The governments of Canada and Ontario will each contribute 41.8 million Canadian dollar over three years.
The investment will enable the facility to assemble new models of the Civic and the CR-V vehicles.
The Japanese automotive group will also construct a new paint shop that will help cut greenhouse gas emissions from the paint process by 44 per cent, Honda Canada CEO Jerry Chenkin said.
The improvements will help save 4,000 jobs at Honda’s facilities – which assembled 385,000 vehicles last year – and “further anchor Honda’s presence in Canada,” the government of Canada said in a statement.
The announcement comes as US President-elect Donald Trump is putting pressure on automakers with facilities on US soil to stop relocating production to Mexico, where a number of factories opened following the enactment of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Signed by Canada, the United States and Mexico, the agreement went into force in 1994.
Trump has so far held off criticising investments in Canada, where labour costs are similar to those in the United States. Manufacturers with facilities in Canada have also relocated plants to Mexico thanks to NAFTA.
The Republican billionaire, who has vowed to renegotiate NAFTA, is “a potential risk” for the Canadian automotive industry, Ontario Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid said yesterday.
However, he said he is convinced the US president-elect would do nothing to hinder the industry’s cross-border supply chain, which links several factories in Ontario to others in Michigan and Ohio, crucial swing states that voted for Trump by small margins.
The three major American automakers committed to investing 1.5 billion dollars in their plants in Ontario when they reached collective bargaining agreements with employees last year. (AGENCIES)