Windsor, Ontario was set to receive a major economic boost from a multi-billion dollar deal between Stellantis and South Korean battery-maker LG Energy Solution to build a massive battery manufacturing plant in the city.
The plant, known as NextStar Energy, would focus on electric vehicles and was expected to create 2,500 jobs. The deal required financial support from all levels of government, but the amount of taxpayer money pledged was not made public.
Construction was already well underway when the city’s mayor, Drew Dilkens, announced on May 14th, 2023 that the completion of the deal was now in question due to the federal government’s failure to fulfill its commitments.
Dilkens blamed the federal government for the impasse and said that it was jeopardizing not only the completion of the EV plant but also the region’s efforts to attract additional investment.
Stellantis, which makes Chrysler, Ram, and Fiat cars among others, called out the federal government the day before, saying it had begun to make “contingency plans.”
Stellantis expressed its dissatisfaction with the federal government’s lack of delivery on the agreement and said that it would immediately begin implementing its contingency plans.
The company’s spokeswoman, LouAnn Gosselin, declined to detail those contingency plans, but negotiations with the company remain ongoing, according to the federal government.
The potential loss of this significant project is a blow to Windsor, which had provided funding to prepare the site for the facility.
Dilkens said that as the host community, the city had the most at risk and that he anticipated the spirit of partnership and collaboration would put the project back on track.
The city’s mayor also warned that the potential loss of the Stellantis project could impact the region’s efforts to attract additional investment.
The potential Stellantis project is not the only major manufacturing initiative in the works in the province. The federal and Ontario governments recently closed a deal with Volkswagen to build an EV battery plant in St. Thomas that includes billions of dollars in government subsidies.
However, the Stellantis project would be a significant loss for the region and would represent a significant setback in the transition to an electric vehicle-based economy.