"Harper himself is expected to make a major announcement about support for the auto industry on Wednesday or Thursday. And an official in the PMO said there are some 'loose ends' to tie up before a campaign begins." (emphasis added)I would hazard a guess that the loose ends involve two of the major weaknesses of the Conservatives at the moment, food safety and the cuts to arts funding. I would expect them to be either rolling out new positions on these issues or getting prepared to roll them out during a campaign. These would involve curing the perception, particularly in Ontario, that they have privatized meat inspections to the detriment of public health as a result of the introduction of regulations in March that weakened the inspection regime, under their watch. And the arts cuts would be remedied by some new position that would alleviate the fear, particularly in Quebec, that they are uncaring ideologues who will not protect Quebec culture.
It's a safe bet that they will not leave themselves exposed on these issues. Whatever they might come up with won't erase what they've done and people will hold them accountable for that, but it will allow them to make an argument. Whether people will trust them if they are seen to be repairing issues solely for electoral purposes, that's another question.