Re-Tooling Could Give Clues To Chrysler Minivan Plant's Fate
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.
Two to three months for a major retool? That's f.a! The local president is looking for headlines. GM Oshawa was down a year to build the Flex line. That's with inside, and outside, contractors working 2 shifts 6-7 days a week. So far I'm not impressed with UNIFOR. Sergio is playing his cards, close to his chest. He certainly isn't keeping UNIFOR in the loop. This local president is just trying to impress the supplier workers, with his deep concern. Two to three months for a retool, in not a commitment.
I'm glad a got a new plate with my new car - dont have that God awful "Ohio Beautiful" one anymore, as picured. Though, I never put one on the front anyway.
I drove a T&C which looked exactly like that last week on vaca. Space, comfort, folding seats, electric sliding doors, mad power under the hood, 30mpg one way down for 450miles, and 25.1 all told over 1012 miles 60/40 mix. Submit to minivan, resistance is futile.
One thing in Windsor's favor, it's FCA's biggest plant, barely beating out Belvidere, which also will need extensive retooling for the Liberty/Patriot replacements. It might be possible to keep a line going while retooling the rest of the plant, but which plant? The big question is the value of the Loony. I personally wouldn't bet against the Federal Reserve's ability to cheapen the dollar, keeping American labor costs lower than Canada's.