Fiat Chrysler Next in Line for Contract Talks; Brampton Assembly a Major Bargaining Point

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
fiat chrysler next in line for contract talks brampton assembly a major bargaining

After securing hundreds of millions of dollars in investments from General Motors and a new lease on life for the Oshawa assembly plant, Canadian Detroit Three autoworkers union Unifor is sharpening its bargaining pens to tackle Fiat Chrysler.

Today, the union identified the automaker as the company next in line to hammer out a contract deal with. After the GM deal, FCA will need to promise something big, and that could mean a commitment to an aging plant filed with aging models.

Under pattern bargaining, the first deal struck sets the pattern for the next round of negotiations. FCA has three facilities in Canada — a Brampton, Ontario, assembly plant that builds the Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger and Challenger, a Windsor plant that produces Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Pacifica minivans, and a casting plant in Etobicoke that manufactures aluminum pistons and die castings.

All eyes will be on Brampton during this bargaining period. Windsor already saw significant investment in the lead-up to Pacifica production, including some government cash afterwards. However, the Brampton facility is old, has one of the oldest paint shops in the industry, and an uncertain future.

It will take more than just a paint shop to make Unifor happy. A deal will likely hinge on promises of future products for Brampton.

“We have one simple message for all the Detroit Three automakers: there will be no deal without commitments to new investments in Canada,” Dias said in a statement.

FCA’s future product schedule (which has proven to be very malleable in the past) calls for the Dodge Charger and Challenger to adopt the Alfa Romeo Giulia platform in 2018. Money will be needed to prep the plant for that its arrival. However, rumors persist about the timing.

The Chrysler 300’s future is more of a mystery.

The automaker’s plans don’t mention a Giulia platform swap for the 300. There could be a redesign in 2020, or a discontinuation, or — as CEO Sergio Marchionne once mulled publicly — a switch to the Pacifica’s front-wheel-drive platform. That would take a product away from Brampton.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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  • PushrodPat PushrodPat on Sep 23, 2016

    Don't destroy the only car that makes you relevant Chrysler....

    • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Sep 23, 2016

      It's not Chrysler anymore, it's Fiat, and all the cars and Jeeps are being converted to Fiat underpinnings, except the Ram trucks. Sergio has a long history at Fiat of letting models wither on the vine, and then dropping them without proper replacement models. The same thing will happen with Chrysler and Dodge.

  • Sector 5 Sector 5 on Sep 23, 2016

    Wonder what kind of hairstyle Jerrys gonna have for this round?

  • 3SpeedAutomatic And this too shall pass.....Ford went thru this when the model T was introduced. It took the moving assembly line to make real money. As time progressed, it got refined, eventually moving to the Model A. Same kind of hiccups with fuel injection, 4 speed automatic, Firestone tires, dashboards with no radio knobs, etc, etc, etc. Same thing with EVs. Yep, a fire or two in the parking lot, espresso time at the charging stations, other issues yet to be encountered, just give it time. 🚗🚗🚗
  • Art Vandelay 2025 Camaro and Challenger
  • Mike Beranek Any car whose engine makes less than 300 ft-lbs of torque.
  • Malcolm Mini temporarily halted manual transmission production but brought it back as it was a surprisingly good seller. The downside is that they should have made awd standard with the manual instead of nixing it. Ford said recently that 4dr were 7% manual take rate and I think the two door was 15%.
  • Master Baiter It’s hard to make predictions, especially about the future. It will be interesting to see if demand for Ford’s EVs will match the production capacity they are putting on line.