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A Chevrolet Bolt, left, and a Pacifica sit on display after winning car of the year honours at the Detroit auto show on January 9, 2017.ANDREW HARRER

Senior executives of two of the Detroit Three auto makers issued assurances Monday that they will go ahead with new investments in Canada, despite moves by president-elect Donald Trump to discourage manufacturers from building vehicles outside the U.S.

Unifor, which represents hourly workers at Canadians plants operated by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co., won commitments from the three companies during collective bargaining last fall that they would spend $1.6-billion in Canada during the four years of the contract.

Questions arose about those promised investments last week when Mr. Trump tweeted warnings at GM and Toyota Motor Corp. that they would face a "big border tax" on vehicles imported into the United States from Mexico, while Ford cancelled plans to build a small-car assembly plant in that country after criticism from Mr. Trump during the election campaign.

Ford agreed last year to spend $700-million at its Canadian operations, with the bulk of it going toward a new engine that will be built at its Windsor, Ont., facilities.

"The plans we have for Windsor and Oakville haven't changed. We don't anticipate them changing," Joe Hinrichs, Ford's president of the Americas, said in an interview at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Fiat Chrysler chairman Sergio Marchionne told reporters $331-million earmarked for a new paint shop at a Brampton, Ont., assembly plant and an engine-parts plant in southwestern Toronto is not in jeopardy.

"It's confirmed," Mr. Marchionne told a group of reporters in an hour-long question-and-answer session that was dominated by questions about Mr. Trump and the impact his threat to end the North American free-trade agreement would have on the industry in the three countries.

Stephen Carlisle, president of General Motors of Canada Ltd., said the company is waiting to see "about what might be in play or not in play" but is proceeding with projects that were revealed to Unifor during negotiations last September.

"We're working post haste to get those projects into production," Mr. Carlisle said.

He would not identify those projects, but union and industry sources have said the auto maker plans to ship pickup truck bodies from Fort Wayne, Ind., to Oshawa, Ont., where assembly will be completed.

Mr. Marchionne joked that perhaps "Prime Minister [Justin] Trudeau wants to start tweeting."

Executives heading the Canadian units of global auto makers have said that they are glad so far to have escaped Mr. Trump's policy-by-140-characters attention, but they aren't sure how long Canada will remain off his radar screen.

Jim Lentz, chief executive officer of Toyota North America, was asked by Motor Trend magazine if he's worried that Mr. Trump will suddenly discover that Canada is not part of the United States.

"Shhhhhhhh," Mr. Lentz responded. "Well, if he goes [with a] border tax, it's going to be all borders. He's not going to be able to pick and choose."

Officials of the new administration said last week after Mr. Trump's tweets about GM that he is focused intently on bringing jobs back for Americans and not necessarily targeting a single country, although so far all his tweets have been about auto makers' Mexico plans.

Mr. Marchionne said Fiat Chrysler – and the auto industry in general – need clarity on the new administration's trade policy before determining what impact that policy will have.

For the moment, however, Fiat Chrysler has put new investment in Mexico on hold until the future of NAFTA is determined, he said.

"Given the level of uncertainty associated with the relationship between the United States and Mexico, I think it would be incredibly imprudent to try to make commitments to that country," he said. "We need to have a very clear understanding of how it is that the U.S. administration intends to deal with NAFTA and what the implications are for both Mexico and Canada. Technically, the Mexico piece can be terminated, but I think it will leave Canada and the U.S. in a strange position."

He said that "by definition" Canada should become more attractive as a manufacturing location to auto makers if investment in Mexico is frozen.

"You should encourage people to continue to invest in Canada," he said. "It's a good manufacturing location."

The auto maker received a congratulatory tweet from Mr. Trump earlier Monday after announcing Sunday that it will invest $1-billion (U.S.) at plants in Ohio and Michigan and hire 1,000 new workers.

Mr. Marchionne said those plans have been in place for months.

Globe Talks: The Canadian economy under Trump. Join us on Jan. 19 for a live event. Get tickets here.

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