Press Kit: Automotive Research Development Centre (ARDC) 20th Anniversary

FCA Canada Celebrates 20th Anniversary of University of Windsor / FCA Automotive Research and Development Centre (ARDC); New $85.8 Million in Funding Announced by Premier of Ontario

  • Milestone anniversary marked with special celebration in Windsor
  • Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario, announces up to $85.8 million in funding for FCA Canada to support enhanced research at the ARDC, workforce training at the Windsor Assembly Plant (WAP) and technology enhancements to WAP for production of the all-new Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
  • A partnership between industry, academia and government, the ARDC is a state-of-the-art platform for automotive research and development activities within the global FCA network that continues to advance technology, quality and safety
  • Canadian-built 2017 Chrysler Pacifica is the sixth generation of FCA minivans, with 14.3 million sold globally in past 30 years
Windsor, Ontario June 15, 2016 The University of Windsor / FCA Automotive Research and Development Centre (ARDC) marked its 20th anniversary today with a special celebration attended by dignitaries, employees, senior executives, media and special guest Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario, who made a surprise funding announcement.
 
A first-of-its-kind Canadian partnership between industry and academia, the ARDC opened in 1996. What started as a $30 million investment has grown to a $1 billion spend on vehicle research and development. The ARDC plays an important role in the product development of nearly every vehicle produced by FCA.
 
At today’s event, Premier Wynne announced that the Ontario Government will provide up to $85.8 million in funding to FCA Canada to support enhanced research at the ARDC, plus advanced training for the world-class workforce at the Windsor Assembly Plant (WAP) and technology enhancements related to the production of the all-new Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid. 
 
As the industry’s first electrified minivan, built for the world exclusively at WAP, the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid will deliver an estimated range of 48 kilometres (30 miles) solely on zero-emissions electric power.
 
“It’s no surprise that Fiat Chrysler chose Ontario for the production of its first-ever minivans using plug-in hybrid technology,” said Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario. “Ontario is a global leader in the auto sector, with competitive business costs, a highly skilled workforce and a commitment to sustainable innovation. We will continue to work with the auto industry, including our partners in Detroit, to support and encourage investment, employment and innovation in the industry.”
 
This significant investment builds on FCA’s commitment to the province and its competitive advantages in Ontario, namely a high-quality workforce and innovative R&D. 
 
“In the last 18 months, FCA has invested in excess of $2 billion and added over 1,200 new jobs for the benefit of our Canadian operations,” said Reid Bigland, President and CEO, FCA Canada. “We are grateful for the support of the Ontario government and appreciate our strong working relationship. We are proud of our world-class workforce, the new research capabilities of the ARDC and the exciting new Chrysler Pacifica.”
 
Today, the ARDC employs 180 people and covers 93,000 square metres in its Windsor facility near WAP and within close proximity to the U.S. border. The facility performs rigorous testing that includes millions of kilometres of road test simulation, extreme weather testing, corrosion control and precision night-time headlight testing, to name a few.
 
In addition to design and engineering, the ARDC works with leading universities in Ontario, such as McMaster, Waterloo and Windsor, conducting research on critical challenges for the industry, including advance powertrains and light-weighting. Results from these efforts can be found in the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid.
 
Additionally, a unique relationship has been forged with Italy’s Politecnico di Torino and the University of Windsor on the establishment of a dual-degree automotive engineering program. Over the years, the ARDC has mentored more than 500 students, many of which have become employees of the facility. 
 
“Collaboration between academia and industry is at the heart of innovative clusters around the world,” said Alan Wildeman, President & Vice-Chancellor, University of Windsor. “The University of Windsor is proud of its 20-year partnership with FCA Canada in ARDC, the country’s largest automotive research centre. As at every university and college in Ontario, we have researchers and creative minds that want to bring solutions to the challenges and opportunities that our province’s industries are navigating. We are very grateful to the many ways in which the province is supporting that goal."
 

About FCA Canada
Founded as the Chrysler Corporation in 1925, FCA Canada Inc. is based in Windsor, Ontario, and celebrates its 94th anniversary in 2019. FCA Canada is a wholly owned subsidiary of FCA US LLC, a North American automaker based in Auburn Hills, Michigan and member of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (FCA) family of companies.  FCA Canada has approximately 440 dealers and sells Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep®, Ram, FIAT and Alfa Romeo brands, as well as the SRT performance designation. The company also distributes Mopar and Alfa Romeo parts and accessories. In addition to its assembly facilities, which produce the Chrysler Pacifica, Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid and Dodge Grand Caravan (Windsor), Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger and Dodge Challenger (Brampton), FCA Canada operates an aluminum casting plant in Etobicoke, a research and development centre in Windsor, and has sales offices and parts distribution centers throughout the country.