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Canada, Ontario commit millions to upgrade Honda plant to manufacture hybrid cars

Holly Mackenzie-Sutter, The Canadian Press

Published Wednesday, March 16, 2022 1:08 PM EDT

Last updated Wednesday, March 16, 2022 4:08 PM EDT

Canada’s prime minister and Ontario’s prime minister announced millions in aid for domestic hybrid car production on Tuesday, but both leaders shrugged off questions over the possibility of incentives to help Canadians buy them.

Justin Trudeau and Doug Ford were in Alliston, Ont., on Wednesday to formally announce the $131.6 million each government has committed to spend on upgrades at the Honda manufacturing plant that will eventually lead to the 2023 CR-V and CR-V. Hybrid vehicles will be manufactured.

Both the leaders said that the scheme will help in ensuring good jobs in the local auto sector in future.

“These investments will ensure that Honda Canada will sell its next generation models in North America such as hybrids in Ontario,” Ford said.

“That means the cars of the future will be built right here by Ontario workers using Ontario resources.”

Honda said the retooling project would cost $1.4 billion over six years.

Trudeau said projects like Honda would help Canada make a sustainable economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“That means understanding where the world is going and celebrating the fact that Honda sees this and sees Canada and Canadians as essential partners in moving forward that way,” he said.

Ford has said it wants to accelerate electric and hybrid vehicle manufacturing in Ontario. Last year his government announced a 10-year plan to build more batteries, vehicles and parts in the province, train more auto workers, and eventually mine for minerals in northern Ontario.

But after revoking discounts of up to $14,000 for electric vehicle buyers brought in by the former Liberal government, Ford’s progressive conservatives have committed to not offering incentives such as rebates for buyers, which Ford called for the wealthy at the time. Said support for the people.

Electric vehicle sales declined when Ford eliminated the discount in 2018.

When asked on Wednesday whether he would bring back the discount, Ford did not respond directly, although he suggested that his policy move had led to an increase in sales.

“Since we’ve been in office, sales of electric vehicles have tripled, so I think it was a good decision,” he said, pointing to his government’s plans to support vehicle production in other ways. Claimed. “We’re putting money back in electric vehicles.”

After forming the government, the Progressive Conservatives also stopped building electric vehicle charging stations. On Wednesday Ford said the province was building road infrastructure and would continue to add charging infrastructure “as market demands.”

Trudeau also did not comment directly when asked whether Ontario should roll back the exemption, saying instead that the federal government was happy to work with the province on Honda’s announcement.

“We will continue to ensure that automakers nationwide invest in the jobs of the future and the cars of the future,” he said.

Provincial opposition leaders vowed on Wednesday to roll back buyer discounts for elections to be held in early June.

The Ontario Liberals promised Wednesday that up to $8,000 for families to buy or lease a zero-emissions vehicle and up to $1,500 to purchase charging equipment would be given. The party said an elected Liberal government would make charging stations more widely available in apartment buildings, parking lots, city streets and transit stations through a 30 percent subsidy for charging infrastructure.

Provincial Greens said they would offer up to $10,000 cash incentives for buyers of electric vehicles, introduce low-cost financing for cars and promised to expand charging infrastructure.

The party said it was “relief” to see Ford invest in electric vehicles after the previous cuts, but leader Mike Schreiner said incentives are needed to help people transition.

“We need to take the big oil out of our pocketbooks and make life more affordable by helping people switch to electricity and avoid skyrocketing prices at pumps,” Schreiner said in a written statement.

“Without actual plans to make EVs more affordable and accessible, driving electric will remain out of reach for many Ontario households.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on March 16, 2022.


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