By on February 11, 2015

30th_Anniversary_Minivan_Windsor_Assembly_Plant

FCA US’ Windsor Assembly Plant is about to undergo the most extensive renovation since the 1980s, all to ready the plant for the automaker’s new minivan.

Detroit Free Press reports the plant will be shutdown for 14 weeks between mid-February through late May so that 1,500 employees and 50 contractors remake 80 percent of the 4.4-million-square-foot facility prior to the June 2015 pilot production of a next-gen Chrysler minivan that will carry on the minivan legacy once the Dodge Grand Caravan is discontinued.

Supply of current-gen minivans are expected to last until production resumes later this spring, the result of a six-day-a-week run during the second half of 2014 per plant manager Michael Brieda. As of December, FCA US has a 78-day inventory of the Chrysler Town & Country and a 67-day inventory of the aforementioned Grand Caravan.

Renovations include 822 new robots and a “skillet” line that allows floor workers to bring a body shell down or up to their height. The overhaul is part of a $2 billion investment meant to bolster the fortunes of both the automaker and the city of Windsor, Ontario, where the iconic vehicle has been assembled since 1983.

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17 Comments on “Windsor Assembly Plant Readying For Extensive Renovation...”


  • avatar
    RetroGrouch

    Are they stretching a Doblo?

  • avatar
    RS

    This must mean Sergio isn’t closing down Canada operations…

  • avatar
    mikey

    This is great news, for the hourly, and salary workers. Toyota, Honda, Ford, and now Chrysler,all making a “commitment” to the people of Ontario. No carrot, and stick B.S., from these guys.

    Nuff said.

  • avatar
    brettc

    This is great news for Windsor. As someone that lived there briefly in the late 90s, I’m glad to see that Chrysler is making a significant investment in the region.

    As for the inventory levels, 78 and 67 days seems a bit low when it comes to shutting the plant down for over 3 months. But I guess they know what they’re doing.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      I thought the same thing about the inventory.

    • 0 avatar
      dtremit

      I think the key there is “as of December.” If they’ve been running the plant flat out since Christmas, those figures could have gone up quite a bit.

      Plus I think a hefty portion of their current minivan sales are fleet sales — which presumably can be delayed.

      It seems odd to me that they’re starting test production in June and no one’s seen the van yet.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Anyone else struck by just how mini that 1984 Dodge Caravan looks between the two current vans? A minivan might be just as revolutionary today as it was then.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      I have a theory that minivans gained the most bloat of any type of vehicle over the last 30 years (even more so than a full-size pickup) because their status as kid-haulers means they _must_ have all the safety equipment, they _must_ have space for all the booster/child safety seats (which have gotten noticeably larger in even my lifetime) and _must_ still have adequate space for 7 passengers (who have also been getting bigger over the years).
      That’s part of the reason we don’t really call them “minivans” anymore, just vans. The other part is because the vehicle they were meant to replace in 1984, the full-size van, has pretty much gone extinct in the passenger market. So we don’t really need a distinct nomenclature for “large FWD unibody passenger vehicle” and “large RWD BOF passenger vehicle.”

    • 0 avatar
      PentastarPride

      I think the 1991-1995 Chrysler minivans “resemble” the current ones today (2008-15) in many respects. It’s not as aerodynamic-looking or “fluid” as the 1996-2000/2001-2007 varieties. The cab-forward design exists in the current models, it just doesn’t show very well.

      The headlight/taillight and grille designs do share a few elements in the original (1984-1995) design, and the windshield wipers go back to the standard configuration, and not the “folding” action as was the case in 1996-2007. The dashboard and a lot of the interior reverted back to simple, straight and clean lines.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Let’s hope that Sergio’s decision to take the van ‘upmarket’, available only as a Town & Country does not throw a monkey wrench into these plans.

  • avatar
    dtremit

    The Freep link in the article is broken, btw.

  • avatar
    Sooke

    I’m guessing now that the Canadian dollar has collapsed to 80 cents US, Canada is no longer the most expensive place in the world to build a car.


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