The Truth About Cars » Windsor http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 01 Aug 2014 04:41:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Windsor http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Windsor Assembly Re-Tooling For Next Generation Chrysler Minivan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/windsor-assembly-re-tooling-for-next-generation-chrysler-minivan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/windsor-assembly-re-tooling-for-next-generation-chrysler-minivan/#comments Mon, 30 Jun 2014 15:29:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=855937 Chrysler will re-tool their Windsor Assembly Plant to build the next-generation Chrysler Town & Country, effectively securing the plant’s future for years to come. According to The Windsor Star, the re-tooling, which will begin in February and last for 13 weeks, will almost certainly transform the plant into one that is capable of building vehicles […]

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Chrysler will re-tool their Windsor Assembly Plant to build the next-generation Chrysler Town & Country, effectively securing the plant’s future for years to come.

According to The Windsor Star, the re-tooling, which will begin in February and last for 13 weeks, will almost certainly transform the plant into one that is capable of building vehicles based on a new, front-drive flexible architecture. The new minivan is expected to ride on this architecture, with a new crossover also sharing the same underpinnings.

That would leave Windsor in a prime position to build the new vehicle, which would go into production in 2017. While Chrysler walked away from a request for a $1 billion subsidy package, the prospect of another vehicle added to Windsor could mean that FCA and various levels of the Canadian government could be back at the bargaining table fairly soon.

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Re-Tooling Could Give Clues To Chrysler Minivan Plant’s Fate http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/re-tooling-could-give-clues-to-chrysler-minivan-plants-fate/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/re-tooling-could-give-clues-to-chrysler-minivan-plants-fate/#comments Wed, 21 May 2014 10:30:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=827386 While the exact location of the next Chrysler minivan is still up in the air, some clues as to whether it will stay in Windsor, Ontario could be found in the plant’s re-tooling time. According to the Windsor Star, Unifor Local 444 President Dino Chiodo said that there could be “about a two to three-month […]

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While the exact location of the next Chrysler minivan is still up in the air, some clues as to whether it will stay in Windsor, Ontario could be found in the plant’s re-tooling time.

According to the Windsor Star, Unifor Local 444 President Dino Chiodo said that there could be

“about a two to three-month shutdown to retool the facility…If there is a full investment there could be a downtime associated to it…We don’t know whether it will be two weeks, four weeks, two months potentially. That’s what could be happening if there is a full refresh  of the current vehicle and a full rebuild of the new  vehicle that’s projected for 2016.”

While Chiodo went on to talk about the economic impacts of a long term shutdown (with certain suppliers not getting the same benefits as Unifor), the longer downtime would suggest that FCA is investing serious money in Windsor to allow it to build a new flexible architecture for not just the new minivan, but other crossovers and sedans built on the same platform. That would be a case of exchanging some short-term pain for the long term payoff of a secure future for Windsor.

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Marchionne Closes Chapter On Canadian Minivan Plant http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/marchionne-closes-chapter-on-canadian-minivan-plant/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/marchionne-closes-chapter-on-canadian-minivan-plant/#comments Mon, 17 Mar 2014 13:01:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=773825 While celebrating the successful turnaround for Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s Sterling Heights, Mich. plant, CEO Sergio Marchionne proclaimed the issue of upgrades made to the Windsor, Ont. plant with help from Canadian federal and provincial governments one no longer worth discussing. Automotive News reports FCA pulled out of discussions with Canada over a $2 billion upgrade […]

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While celebrating the successful turnaround for Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s Sterling Heights, Mich. plant, CEO Sergio Marchionne proclaimed the issue of upgrades made to the Windsor, Ont. plant with help from Canadian federal and provincial governments one no longer worth discussing.

Automotive News reports FCA pulled out of discussions with Canada over a $2 billion upgrade incentive package that would secure the long-term future of the plant after politicians referred to the request as “ransom” and “corporate welfare,” according to Marchionne:

Chrysler is not in the business of accepting handouts. And if provincial and federal authorities in Canada think that’s the way to attract foreign investment, I think they are in for a big shock.

It doesn’t matter. It’s gone. That chapter is closed. Fiat-Chrysler has moved on. The agenda, from my standpoint, is complete.

Regarding Sterling Heights, where the Chrysler 200 will go into production this week, the plant’s upgrade as “an apt symbol of how far Chrysler has come because of the courage and resilience of [its] people,” Marchionne explained. The plant was due to close in 2010, only to return to life through a $1 billion investment made in light of the success behind the restyled and renamed compact, and the capacity needed to fulfill demand.

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Editorial: Marchionne Settles On Minivan Plant Location http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/editorial-marchionne-settles-on-minivan-plant-location/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/editorial-marchionne-settles-on-minivan-plant-location/#comments Tue, 04 Mar 2014 17:24:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=763545 UPDATE: Mere minutes after our prior editorial was published  Chrysler announced that they will be withdrawing their request for funding from the Canadian government, and “…confirmed its intention to begin to allocate to our Windsor, Ontario plant the development and industrialization of the next “people carrier” architecture (the so-called next minivan and derivatives)”  We are […]

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UPDATE: Mere minutes after our prior editorial was published  Chrysler announced that they will be withdrawing their request for funding from the Canadian government, and

“…confirmed its intention to begin to allocate to our Windsor, Ontario plant the development and industrialization of the next “people carrier” architecture (the so-called next minivan and derivatives)”

 We are awaiting a call from Chrysler to discuss the matter. In the mean time, you can read the official announcement here.

The biggest news for North America’s auto industry was announced at Geneva, and it wasn’t a new product debut. According to Automotive News, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne has decided on a location for the next assembly plant, and things aren’t looking great for the current plant in Windsor, Ontario.

Claiming that the merger between Fiat and Chrysler “flattened the world out completely”, Marchionne reportedly dismissed the idea of national loyalty (Marchionne is a naturalized Canadian), telling reporters

“…it will become evident over the next 24 to 48 hours that we have taken a position, and life will go on. I think the decision has been made. We’re in the position of finalizing the choice. We’re pretty well done.”

Marchionne has been lobbying both the Ontario and Canadian federal government for a reported $700 million in funds, the single largest amount aside from Chrysler’s 2009 bailout package. Marchionne said that countries competing for auto production have an “…obligation to match and effectively equal what the competition is offering” in terms of subsidies, suggesting that both levels of government ought to offer competitive subsidies to keep the minivans in Windsor.

For a country f 35 million people, this is unrealistic. Canada simply cannot compete with the handouts being offered by the United States and Mexico, which are de rigueur for any auto maker looking to set up a plant (or re-tool an existing one). A relatively high Canadian dollar also contributes to high labor costs, something that can easily be remedied by moving production to the southern United States (where it will be reduced to $14-$16 per hour, or roughly half of what it costs in Canada), or Mexico, where workers would earn just a few dollars per hour.

Labor costs aside, Mexico is looking like the most appealing choice for the new vans. FCA has the capacity in Mexico to build the new vans, thanks to the Dodge Journey’s move to the Sterling Heights, Michigan plant, and the Fiat 500′s move to Poland. Along with NAFTA, Mexico has a free trade agreement with the European Union, allowing FCA to export cars to a broad range of markets. And with planned upgrades to a flexible line, this could mean anything from the new minivans to a crossover to a new sedan. The timing of the van’s launch also coincides with the end of Chrysler’s contract with Unifor (formerly the CAW), allowing them to make a clean break from Windsor.

Assuming Chrysler does leave Windsor, it will herald the start of a painful, Australia-style exodus from Southern Ontario for the Detroit Three. GM’s Oshawa plant is almost certainly the next plant to close, which will devastate the working-class town that has built itself around GM. That will leave just one plant for each American OEM- the GM CAMI plant in Ingersoll, the Ford plant in Oakville and the FCA plant in Brampton as the sole remnants of Detroit’s Canadian automotive assembly sector. On the other hand, Ontario’s three non-unionized transplants, operated by Honda and Toyota, don’t appear to be going anywhere.

 

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Editorial: A Radical Solution To Canada’s Auto Industry Investment Problem http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/editorial-a-radical-solution-to-canadas-auto-industry-investment-problem/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/editorial-a-radical-solution-to-canadas-auto-industry-investment-problem/#comments Wed, 19 Feb 2014 17:17:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=748889 FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne took to The Globe and Mail‘s editorial pages to make his case for government investment in Chrysler’s assembly plants in Canada. Marchionne is seeking government funds to upgrade the Brampton plant (which builds Chrysler’s rear-drive cars) and the Windsor plant (which builds minivans, and would be upgraded as a flexible plant) as […]

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FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne took to The Globe and Mail‘s editorial pages to make his case for government investment in Chrysler’s assembly plants in Canada. Marchionne is seeking government funds to upgrade the Brampton plant (which builds Chrysler’s rear-drive cars) and the Windsor plant (which builds minivans, and would be upgraded as a flexible plant) as part of a $3.6 billion investment.

For readers of TTACthe facts and figures will be familiar. Marchionne correctly asserts that of the $42 billion in recent automotive investment in the NAFTA zone over the past 5 years, just $2.4 billion has come to Canada. According to Marchionne, this new Chrysler investment would be larger than anything Canada has seen in recent years, securing thousands of jobs and the future of both plants for years to come. All it will cost is a reported $700 million.

Marchionne is correct in asserting that “every global automotive jurisdiction around the world” is giving significant handouts to auto makers, Canada is a small player globally, and cannot afford to keep pace with the United States and Mexico, which foot as much as 50 percent of the bill for new auto plants.

At one time, building cars in Canada made sense. Legacy plants left from the pre-Auto Pact era cranked out cars in an era of Detroit 3 dominance and a relatively low Canadian dollar. Health care costs, long a bugbear of the auto makers and the UAW, were covered by the government, eliminating a major financial sore point.

Now, times have changed. NAFTA has superseded the Auto Pact, and that means auto makers can set up shop in Mexico, where workers are content to build cars for mere dollars per hour, or in the South, at $14-$16 per hour, versus the $32 per hour figure that some estimate it costs in Canada. Marchionne could even utilize capacity in Europe, thanks to a Canada-EU free trade deal and minimal tariffs in the United States, to import Chrysler vehicles if he so chose to, though that’s a far-out scenario.

The question is whether Canada can afford to play the subsidy game, with its ever-increasing stakes. The prevailing view among many pundits is a firm “no”. The $700-million figure seems outsized in relation to the 10,000 or so jobs it might save in Ontario, and there is a strong sentiment against “corporate welfare” for an industry that constantly has its hand out looking for assistance.

There is simply no assurance that upon receipt of government funds, Chrysler or any other auto maker will make a long-term commitment to Canada, rather than simply hit up the government in a few years time looking for more money. And the fact that the CAW failed to secure any product investment during the last round of contract negotiations (unlike Ford and GM) only serves to leave Marchionne in a stronger position to pick up and leave when the contract expires in 2016 (coincidentally, the same time as the new minivans are set to debut).

But one proposal, being floated by media and finance types (as well as a couple of industry figures, off the record) and others I have spoken to in the past, involves receiving equity in an auto maker in exchange for government funding – an “investment” in the truest sense. From a free market standpoint, I find the notion of “Government Motors” rather troublesome. But we live in the real world, where ideology must take a back seat to what is happening on the ground right now.

And in this world, Canada cannot compete with Mexico and other low-cost jurisdictions, let alone the United States. A loan, tax credits or other forms of “investment” provide minimal upside with plenty of downside risk. Canada has no leverage, but is effectively funding FCA as an auto maker.

At least with some equity (such as preferred stock, like the bailout-era TARP program), the government can benefit from the upside in share price and have a seat on the board of directors. If FCA threatened to leave Canada, then the government could do something like threaten to sell their stake to a Carl Ichan or a Bill Ackman, the kind of activist investor that no company would actively court. Again, such a scenario is hypothetical, but it demonstrates the leverage that equity gives.

Viewed through that lens, the alternatives – continuing to act as an ATM for the auto industry, or telling FCA to get lost and risk losing a giant chunk of Canda’s auto industry – somehow seem less palatable.

 

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Canadian Government Funds Would Safeguard Windsor For 30 Years http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/canadian-government-funds-would-safeguard-windsor-for-30-years/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/canadian-government-funds-would-safeguard-windsor-for-30-years/#comments Thu, 13 Feb 2014 14:07:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=740633 On the heels of reports that put a $3.6 billion pricetag on Chrysler’s investment at two Canadian plants, another Canadian outlet is reporting that the money would ensure the future of the two plants for decades to come. The Windsor Star, citing well-placed sources, claims that the Brampton Assembly Plant that builds the Chrysler 300 […]

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On the heels of reports that put a $3.6 billion pricetag on Chrysler’s investment at two Canadian plants, another Canadian outlet is reporting that the money would ensure the future of the two plants for decades to come.

The Windsor Star, citing well-placed sources, claims that the Brampton Assembly Plant that builds the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger/Challenger would receive substantial upgrades that would hold the plant over for another decade. By contrast, the complete re-tooling of the Windsor plant to build a sedan, crossover, the next generation Chrysler minivan and a heretofore-unannounced “small minivan for international export”, would apparently safeguard Windsor’s future for thirty years.

The tradeoff for the Canadian government would be a substantial sum, which The Star claims may even be higher than the previously reported $700 million figure. The figure sought by Chrysler, which was not disclosed, is said to be the largest “ask” since the 2009 bailout, when Chrysler received just under $3 billion from both the Ontario and federal governments.

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Editorial: Canada’s Auto Industry Is Hooked On Subsidies, And It Won’t End Well http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/editorial-chryslers-investment-demands-prove-that-canadas-auto-industry-is-hooked-on-subsidies/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/editorial-chryslers-investment-demands-prove-that-canadas-auto-industry-is-hooked-on-subsidies/#comments Tue, 11 Feb 2014 13:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=739225 Just a few short years after the Canadian and Ontario government bailed out General Motors and Chrysler, a familiar scenario is playing out along Highway 401. Chrysler is reported to be negotiating with both the Ontario and Canadian federal government regarding subsidies for their Windsor assembly plant that builds the Dodge Caravan and Chrysler Town […]

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Just a few short years after the Canadian and Ontario government bailed out General Motors and Chrysler, a familiar scenario is playing out along Highway 401. Chrysler is reported to be negotiating with both the Ontario and Canadian federal government regarding subsidies for their Windsor assembly plant that builds the Dodge Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country minivans.

While auto makers like Ford and Toyota have received government money recently, the size and scope of the subsidies are said to be unprecedented. And according to reports, Chrysler is threatening to leave if they don’t get what they want. According to the Financial Post, Chrysler is looking for a total of $460 million (compared to the $71 million and $34 million received by Ford and Toyota respectively), which would represent about 20 percent of the planned $2.3 billion investment. Chrysler is said to be seeking funding for R&D work on the new vans, as well as money to revamp Windsor to a new flexible assembly plant that can build sedans, minivans and crossovers. Reports from the Windsor Star quote Ontario government officials as stating that they are in “serious negotiations” with Chrysler. When reached by TTAC Chrysler Canada refused to comment.

While the minivan market is shrinking in America, Windsor is still running flat-out, with three shifts running and both nameplates ranking among the top sellers in the segment. Chrysler is slated to transition one nameplate to a crossover while keeping the other as a traditional minivan. But Chrysler and CEO Sergio Marchionne have flip-flopped on this decision so many times that it’s tough to keep track of what was said last. As early as the end of January, Marchionne made comments that hinted at a secure future for Windsor at a launch sometime between 2015 and 2016 model years.

But the recent developments, as well as the expiration of Chrysler’s contract with Unifor (formerly the Canadian Auto Workers) could prove to create an opportunity for Chrysler to make a hasty exist from Windsor. The hardball talk is backed up by the very real fact that Chrysler has the capacity in other plants that could enable a move for their minivans. Mexico is one option, with production of the Fiat 500 moving to Poland and the Dodge Journey said to be leaving Mexico for Sterling Heights, Michigan. Either plant could be a candidate for minivan production, assuming the new vans ride on the CUSW architecture used for the Dart, Chrysler 200 and Jeep Cherokee.

Both levels of government are captivated by a desire to keep Canada’s auto industry intact, even at great expense to the taxpayer, and Chrysler head Sergio Marchionne is likely banking on this. With elections looming in the next couple of years, Marchionne and his team know that the threat of moving production to the United States or Mexico is potent enough to get the governments to acquiesce to his demands. With roughly 4,700 jobs at Windsor, Chrysler is the town’s biggest employee, and crucial electoral districts are up for grabs as well.

The wrong decision could have political consequences in tightly contested elections at both the provincial and federal levels. The negotiations with Chrysler are occurring against a gloomy backdrop for the Canadian auto industry. Production levels have been on the decline, as a strong Canadian dollar, lower labor costs and generous incentives from other jurisdictions have made Canada an unpopular choice for new assembly plants. The lion’s share of new investment has gone to the United States and especially Mexico, which has seen a boom in auto assembly plants from Japanese and European auto makers.

While a recent slump in the Canadian dollar will help Canada’s overall export picture, it’s this author’s opinion that Canada’s auto industry will eventually meet the same fate as Australia’s. The Canadian auto market is roughly the same size as Australia, and though it does not have such a competitive and fragmented selection of brands, it does share Australia’s proximity to low-cost assembly locations that have reciprocal free-trade agreements. The Minivan may stay in Windsor, given the costs associated with moving production, and Marchionne’s prediliction for blusters. But it’s this author’s opinion that when the Vitality Commitment between General Motors and the Canadian government ends in 2016, the Oshawa assembly plants will close, ending a century-long tradition of auto assembly in that town.

The move will devastate an already vulnerable municipality, but every vehicle built in Oshawa is already built at another, lower-cost assembly plant, and GM CEO Dan Akerson made up his mind long ago, calling Canada “the most expensive place to build a car“. Like Windsor, the timing of the Oshawa closure could easily coincide with the expiration of the current CAW/Unifor labor agreement, allowing for a clean break.

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Piston Slap: Escalading on Thin Ice? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/piston-slap-escalading-on-thin-ice/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/piston-slap-escalading-on-thin-ice/#comments Wed, 06 Nov 2013 13:58:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=641137 William (no longer TTAC’s tiburon_guy) writes: Hey Buddy, I am no longer tiburon_guy since we sold it (sad face – SM) but I do have a question that a friend asked me about. He has a 2002 Escalade EXT he bought new (demo actually, 300 miles on it) now it’s at 60k and overall no […]

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William (no longer TTAC’s tiburon_guy) writes:
Hey Buddy, I am no longer tiburon_guy since we sold it (sad face – SM) but I do have a question that a friend asked me about. He has a 2002 Escalade EXT he bought new (demo actually, 300 miles on it) now it’s at 60k and overall no major issues. He’s attached to the truck and rightfully so, as in my opinion it’s the best model Escalade created by GM.

His question is with it getting up in age (11 years) he’s worried about what to expect trouble wise down the road and if he should part with it soon or keep hold of it due to the low mileage (and garage kept since day one) so it looks pristine. The resell on this truck is pitiful but he also doesn’t want to be stranded. Have you heard any bad things about the 2002 model year of Escalade EXT? I’ve done a little digging but haven’t come up with much.

Additionally, my 2010 Ranger XLT is still kicking ass and taking names, but I wanted to know if you had heard any more of the 5.0L engine swap for our Ranger?

Sajeev answers:

Aside from the well documented piston slap problem on LS-based Vortec truck engines, there’s really nothing to worry about.  Yes, it’s an older vehicle and things will always go wrong, but the old Chevy Tahoe underneath the Escalade EXT isn’t exactly striking fear into my heart. Even piston slap isn’t a deal breaker, it’s more of an annoyance that a local engine builder can fix whenever your friend wants a fresh engine…which will be a long, loooong time from now.

So what’s left?  A lot of eyeballing and preventative maintenance: fluid changes, rubber product changes (vac lines, belts, hoses, etc) and other wear items that people tend to forget.  If that hyperlink scares him off, he either needs a replacement vehicle or a second vehicle to ease the burden.  Both can be fun and affordable if done correctly.

Now about the fantabulousness that is the Ford Ranger: the 5.0 Windsor swap’s been done many times before and this link is helpful.  I especially like the job done by this guy, the attention to detail is quite excellent. Check out the interior swap from a Ford Explorer Limited, complete with all the buttons on the steering wheel, automatic HVAC and the fancy trip computer!

WOW, what a luxury truck!!!

Now were you talking about the 5.0 Coyote swap?  Looks like that famously swapped Coyote Ranger has been dead in the water since the initial media buzz.  Which is sad, but maybe they worked out the wiring, induction, chassis upgrades, transmission change, driveline change, drivability, accessories, HVAC plumbing, etc…or perhaps not.

And maybe you have $20,000-30,000 lying around.  But if you did, you’d keep the Ranger, get an 5.0 windsor Explorer Limited for that swap, and use the remaining cash for a new 5.0 Coyote Mustang down payment.  Because no matter what, you’ll need a better daily driver than a project truck.

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

 

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A Bleak Forecast For Canada’s Auto Industry http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/a-bleak-forecast-for-canadas-auto-industry/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/a-bleak-forecast-for-canadas-auto-industry/#comments Fri, 04 Oct 2013 19:46:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=606057 The Globe and Mail‘s Greg Keenan reported some bleak news for Canada’s auto industry today, with Canada’s auto manufacturing output set to decline by as much as 25 percent by 2020. While Canada built over 2.4 million vehicles in 2012, that number is expected to drop to 1.8 million by 2020, according to a report […]

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The Globe and Mail‘s Greg Keenan reported some bleak news for Canada’s auto industry today, with Canada’s auto manufacturing output set to decline by as much as 25 percent by 2020.

While Canada built over 2.4 million vehicles in 2012, that number is expected to drop to 1.8 million by 2020, according to a report cited by Joe McCabe, president of AutomotiveCompass LLC, who spoke at a conference for the  Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association of Canada.

Since 2010, auto makers have invested $42 billion in manufacturing, with Canada receiving a mere 5 percent of that. The biggest declines are expected to come at GM and Chrysler, with both companies moving key product out of their Canadian facilities. Production of the Chevrolet Camaro will move from GM’s Oshawa, Ontario plant to Michigan, while Chrysler’s axing of one of its minivan nameplates could see the end of a full three-shift schedule at its Windsor, Ontario plant.

GM is set to close its Consolidated Line at Oshawa next year, leaving only the Flex Line running. But no new product has been confirmed beyond 2016, when GM’s “vitality commitment” to the Canadian government runs out, and it is no longer obligated to keep a certain percentage of its vehicle production in Canada. No GM vehicle is exclusive to the Flex Line either, with the Buick Regal, Chevrolet Impala, Cadillac XTS, Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain all built at other facilities as well as Oshawa, while GM’s Dan Akerson has stated that Canada is the most expensive location in the world to build a car.

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Ecoboost May Put The Squeeze On Ford’s Canadian Engine Plants http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/ecoboost-may-put-the-squeeze-on-fords-canadian-engine-plants/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/ecoboost-may-put-the-squeeze-on-fords-canadian-engine-plants/#comments Thu, 28 Feb 2013 18:16:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=479458 Ford’s plan to ramp up production of their Ecoboost engines may negatively impact the Blue Oval’s Essex engine plant in Windsor, Ontario. The Essex plant, which currently employes 800 workers and operates with three shifts, is in danger of moving to two shifts as Ford’s V8 engines are increasingly replaced by the forced-induction 4-cylinder engines. […]

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Ford’s plan to ramp up production of their Ecoboost engines may negatively impact the Blue Oval’s Essex engine plant in Windsor, Ontario.

The Essex plant, which currently employes 800 workers and operates with three shifts, is in danger of moving to two shifts as Ford’s V8 engines are increasingly replaced by the forced-induction 4-cylinder engines. Essex produces the 5.0L V8 engine used in the F-150 and the Mustang.

According to the Windsor Star, the Canadian Auto Workers union says that the total volume of engines isn’t expected to decrease for 2013, but the next-generation Mustang’s likely move to an Ecoboost powertrain could bring lower demand for the V8. The addition of an Ecoboost Mustang is expected to increase its profile across the Ford lineup, with 95 percent of Ford’s cars offering it as an option (up from 90 percent currently).

On the bright side, the V8 doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Despite the Ecoboost’s popularity, a majority of F-Series buyers opt for the V8, – heavy-duty vehicles still rely on the naturally aspirated V8 for their motivation, while the Ecoboost makes up 40 percent of F-150 sales (V6s account for 53 percent overall). Meanwhile, Ford’s Oakville plant, which assembles the Edge and Flex crossovers, is slated to get an all-new global platform and add hundreds of jobs (largely composed of previously laid-off workers).

But nothing is a given with respect to Ontario’s auto manufacturing sector, and even though strong F-150 sales are keeping the Essex plant busy, nobody ever expected Oshawa to lose their truck plant either.

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Parts Shortage Shuts Chrysler Minivan Plant http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/parts-shortage-shuts-chrysler-minivan-plant/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/parts-shortage-shuts-chrysler-minivan-plant/#comments Wed, 20 Feb 2013 19:33:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=478421 A parts shortage has resulted in a shutdown at Chrysler’s Windsor Assembly Plant, home of the Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country. The Windsor Star reports that that Wednesday’s shifts have been cancelled, and Thursday production will go ahead on a shift-by-shift basis. 2011 saw multiple parts related shutdowns at Windsor. Windsor produces about […]

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A parts shortage has resulted in a shutdown at Chrysler’s Windsor Assembly Plant, home of the Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country.

The Windsor Star reports that that Wednesday’s shifts have been cancelled, and Thursday production will go ahead on a shift-by-shift basis. 2011 saw multiple parts related shutdowns at Windsor.

Windsor produces about 1,400 minivans per day, and the plant is said to be running at full capacity. The Chrysler vans dominate the segment and are one Chrysler’s best performing vehicles outside of the Ram and Jeep brands. The addition of an “American Value Package” at $21,195 (similar to the sub-$20k Canada Value Package) should only help matters, even if it’s a loss leader.

 

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Volkswagen Routan Not Dead Yet, Just On A Long Hiatus http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/volkswagen-routan-not-dead-yet-just-on-a-long-hiatus/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/volkswagen-routan-not-dead-yet-just-on-a-long-hiatus/#comments Tue, 18 Dec 2012 17:26:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=470599 Despite rumors of its impending demise, the Volkswagen Routan will apparently resume production in summer 2013. But the big question is why Volkswagen will have halted production of the Chrysler-based minivan for nearly a year? Automotive News spoke to VW’s Scott Vazin regarding the Routan, with the news outlet reporting that VW plans “to offer […]

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Despite rumors of its impending demise, the Volkswagen Routan will apparently resume production in summer 2013. But the big question is why Volkswagen will have halted production of the Chrysler-based minivan for nearly a year?

Automotive News spoke to VW’s Scott Vazin regarding the Routan, with the news outlet reporting

that VW plans “to offer the 2013 model year Routan” without changes and that it will continue to be assembled in Windsor. There is no set schedule for production of the Routan to restart, but it’s “a safe bet” to happen by summer, he said.

While inventory numbers were not available for the Routan, the vehicle hasn’t been produced since July, and sales were down 17 percent year over year. The year-long gap in production is puzzling to say the least, but the missing inventory numbers are a giant “X’ factor in the rationale behind VW’s decision to suspend production. A 7-12 month supply of Routans is unlikely, but if demand is so poor as to suspend production for that long, why bother carrying on with the vehicle? Only 8,882 Routans have been built in 2012, a 38 percent drop compared to 2011. Manufacturing professionals in the commentariat – we know you’re out there – please feel free to chime in with your expertise.

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Junkyard Find: 1957 Chrysler Windsor http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/junkyard-find-1957-chrysler-windsor/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/junkyard-find-1957-chrysler-windsor/#comments Sat, 15 Sep 2012 13:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=460148 It has been a while since I shared any photographs from the Brain Melting Colorado Yard, so let’s return to the amazing yard near Colorado Springs that gave us the Horizon Blue ’49 Kaiser and the ’41 Nash Airflyte. Here’s a ’57 Chrysler that’s destined to be shipped to Sweden in the near future. The […]

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It has been a while since I shared any photographs from the Brain Melting Colorado Yard, so let’s return to the amazing yard near Colorado Springs that gave us the Horizon Blue ’49 Kaiser and the ’41 Nash Airflyte. Here’s a ’57 Chrysler that’s destined to be shipped to Sweden in the near future.
The Swedes love big American cars with lots of fins and chrome, and so this car and many others near it will be dismantled and shipped to Scandinavia by a couple of Swedish restorers who make a yearly pilgrimage to the Brain Melting Yard.
The proprietor of the yard asked me to refrain from opening the hood on this car, because the hood hinges are rusty and it might be impossible to close the hood without bending the sheet metal. That means I can’t tell you for sure what engine is in this car, though I’m pretty sure it should be a 354 Poly.
Everyone thinks about Cadillacs when they picture dramatic tailfins of the late 1950s, but Chrysler made some of the wildest fins of the period. Check out the thickness of these things!

06 - 1957 Chrysler Windsor Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 01 - 1957 Chrysler Windsor Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1957 Chrysler Windsor Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1957 Chrysler Windsor Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1957 Chrysler Windsor Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1957 Chrysler Windsor Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin

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CAW Looking To Add New Product At Ford’s Windsor Engine Plant http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/caw-looking-to-add-new-product-at-fords-windsor-engine-plant/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/caw-looking-to-add-new-product-at-fords-windsor-engine-plant/#comments Sat, 08 Sep 2012 17:09:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=459456 Conventional wisdom would have it that the CAW is looking to ensure the future of Ford’s Oakville plant. The Flex and Edge are built at the facility, and there has been a heated debate over whether the government of Ontario should invest money into the plant to help secure new product. But according to the […]

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Conventional wisdom would have it that the CAW is looking to ensure the future of Ford’s Oakville plant. The Flex and Edge are built at the facility, and there has been a heated debate over whether the government of Ontario should invest money into the plant to help secure new product. But according to the CAW, the number one priority for them is a few hundred miles down the road.

The CAW’s Gary Beck told the Windsor Star

“Windsor is the No. 1 priority in our discussions right now,” said Beck, president of CAW Local 707. “We want to make sure all those people on layoff get back to work.”

Of the nearly 1,000 laid off Ford workers in Ontario, 600 of those were from the Windsor plant, and the CAW not only wants to get jobs back for them, but they are hoping to secure some new product, to ensure that the plant is safe from closing. Unfortunately, a revival of the 351 Windsor doesn’t seem to be in the cards.

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Supplier Issues Shut Windsor Until February, GM Adds Overtime At Arlington http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/01/supplier-issues-shut-windsor-until-february-gm-adds-overtime-at-arlington/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/01/supplier-issues-shut-windsor-until-february-gm-adds-overtime-at-arlington/#comments Fri, 22 Jan 2010 23:02:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=342744 Automotive News [sub] quotes CAW President Ken Lawenza as saying “supplier challenges” have shut down production of the Chrysler Group’s minivan plant in Windsor, Ontario. Chrysler confirmed that the plant would be closed until February 1, but refused to elaborate on the circumstances. According to Lawenza, “the reason is because if a supplier never lived […]

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Automotive News [sub] quotes CAW President Ken Lawenza as saying “supplier challenges” have shut down production of the Chrysler Group’s minivan plant in Windsor, Ontario. Chrysler confirmed that the plant would be closed until February 1, but refused to elaborate on the circumstances. According to Lawenza, “the reason is because if a supplier never lived up to their contract, then it could be legal ramifications. We let those guys hash it out legally.” The President of CAW Local 444 Rick LaPorte adds “it’s a piece for the key fob, so my understanding is that it’s a raw material issue. The good news is that it’s not an inventory adjustment problem or a lack of sales; it’s a good problem to have.” You know, relatively speaking.

In other production news, GM is adding overtime to production of Tahoe, Yukon and Escalade at its Arlington plant, as it battles low inventory levels (34 days supply and lower) for the full-sized utes. According to GM, dealers are screaming for more big SUVs, but with Ford bumping full-sized production and SUV sales falling, someone’s going to find themselves with more utes than they can get rid of in a few months.

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Chrysler Plans Another Long Vacation http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/12/chrysler-plans-another-long-vacation/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/12/chrysler-plans-another-long-vacation/#comments Fri, 04 Dec 2009 19:03:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=338118 Having planned to idle production plants for a mere ten days over the winter break, Chrysler is responding to weak sales by extending the holiday shutdown of several plants to three weeks or more. The WSJ reports that Chrysler’s Windsor and Brampton plants (minivans, 300/Charger/Challenger) will shut down starting December 21 and will idle through […]

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Spring break coming early in Brampton? (courtesy:thestar.com)

Having planned to idle production plants for a mere ten days over the winter break, Chrysler is responding to weak sales by extending the holiday shutdown of several plants to three weeks or more. The WSJ reports that Chrysler’s Windsor and Brampton plants (minivans, 300/Charger/Challenger) will shut down starting December 21 and will idle through January 18. The Toledo plant (Jeep Wrangler) will also idle beginning on December 21, and will resume production on January 11. Chrysler is also said to be considering extended production shutdowns at its Detroit Viper factory (which is entering final production anyway) and an unspecified Ram plant. Unless December sales numbers turn out to be humdingers, this winter vacation could possibly go on even longer, as Chrysler struggles under falling sales and a 64-day supply inventory.

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