Chrysler's Sergio Marchionne mum on Canadian investment

Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne didn’t have much good to say Thursday about the collective bargaining agreement his company struck with the CAW last month.

“The CAW collective agreement is what it is. It was an agreement arrived at after lengthy negotiations,” Marchionne said in Detroit after announcing nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in three Michigan plants.

Marchionne was then asked if he was happy with the contract.

“Happy is a very strong word. I think it’s an agreement that we can use,” Marchionne said.

The CEO was then questioned about collective bargaining in Italy and quickly reflected on 2009 negotiations with the UAW, which accepting concessions in the middle of the global economic meltdown.

“I have a tendency to break systems,” Marchionne said.

“It was a very tough set of discussions to arrive at a starting point. And that starting point allowed us to get here,” Marchionne said, referring to the announcement in Michigan. “I learned a long time ago that if the damn thing is busted and it ain’t running throw it out, get something new and start over again.”

Chrysler LLC announced Thursday it will invest $238 million in three Michigan plants and create and create 1,250 jobs.

Of that, $198 million will be spent at the Mack plant, where the company’s 4.7-litre V-8 engine is currently made. A new production line will be added there to make the 3.6-litre Pentastar V-6 engine.

A third shift will be added at its factory in Warren, Mich., where the Dodge Ram 1500 is built.

Chrysler will also invest $40 million in its Trenton Engine Plant, where production of its Pentastar V-6 engine and four-cylinder Tigershark motor will increase.

Marchionne refused to comment on potential Canadian investment Thursday. He also refused say which, if any, of the two minivan nameplates will be discontinued.

“We have nothing to announce today,” he said.

The CAW told CBC News on Thursday that during contract negotiations Chrysler told the union it was committed to keeping two plants in Canada.

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