TTAC News Round-up: Heavens Smile as Cursed Minivan Plant Resumes Production

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
ttac news round up heavens smile as cursed minivan plant resumes production

Tranquility returns to North America as FCA’s ill-fated minivan assembly plant prepares itself for a return to active duty.

That, the used car rulebook is getting an update, an autoworkers’ union puts its hand out for government cash, and Porsche shrinks the price-tag and stretches the length of the Panamera … after the break!

More minivans next Monday

Fiat Chrysler says its Windsor assembly plant will return to operational status on Monday. Automotive News reports a Unifor spokesman said the union will begin notifying members through traditional and social media that work will resume on November 14th.

The union, which represents Detroit Three autoworkers in Canada, told the roughly 6,000 employees on November 3 the plant would be idled due to a parts shortage. The news came after an essential seating manufacturer narrowly averted a strike and a key lighting component supplier suffered a massive warehouse fire on November 1st.

While the plant was already scheduled to be closed on November 11 for Remembrance Day, regular production was absent from November 7th through the 10th. The Windsor assembly plant produces about 1,500 Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Pacifica minivans every day.

FTC updates the Used Car Buyers Guide

The Federal Trade Commission updated its used car rulebook on Thursday. The FTC’s Used Car Rule has been the industry standard since 1985. It requires all used car dealers to post a Buyers Guide on any car they are offering for purchase, giving customers important information to help them make better informed decisions.

Now the FTC has made some changes to the Buyers Guide that dealers need to adhere to and consumers may want to know about. One of the biggest changes is updating the description of what constitutes an “as is” sale. Other changes include:

Adding boxes on the face of the Buyers Guide that dealerships can mark to show whether a vehicle is covered by a third-party warranty, and if a service contract is available.

Providing a box that dealerships can selected to show that a manufacturer’s warranty that hasn’t expired still applies to the vehicle.

Adding airbags and catalytic converters to the Buyers Guide’s list of major defects that could occur.

Adding a statement that tells consumers to obtain a vehicle history report and to check for open recalls.

Adding a Spanish statement to the English-language guide that advises Spanish-speaking consumers to ask for the Buyers Guide in Spanish (if the dealership is conducting the sale in Spanish).

Providing a Spanish translation of the statement that dealers may use to obtain a consumer’s acknowledgement of receipt of the Buyers Guide.

The revisions go into effect on January 27. A copy of the new guide and expanded information for consumers and sells are available at the Federal Trade Commission’s website.

Dias wants more from the Canadian government.

Unifor President Jerry Dias has called on the Canadian government to support the auto industry in a piece written for the Huffington Post. In it, he claimed, “Canada still has inadequate programs from our governments to attract and retain the auto industry in this country.”

The article comes after Dias and Unifor negotiated large investments from the Big Three. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles committed $331 million, General Motors was in for $554 million, and Ford promised $713 million — most of which will go to Windsor’s new engine programs.

“We’ve done our bit. Now it’s their turn,” Dias wrote.

However, he didn’t say what this government intervention would entail.

”He’s not specifying what he wants, but I think I know what he wants, and that’s a handout. I think that is a very dangerous road to go down,” Canadian Taxpayers Association head Aaron Wudrick told Automotive News Canada. “The government can provide a better business environment by cutting taxes and making it easier for these entities to do business. In Ontario, they can start by lowering energy prices for these businesses.”

A Porsche not aimed at drivers

Porsche is now offering an “entry-level” Panamera for the low price of $85,000.

The new base Panamera receives a 2.9-liter turbocharged V6 that sends all 330 of its horsepower to the real wheels. Although, like every other Porsche sedan, you can make it all-wheel drive for an extra $4,600.

Porsche will also offer “Executive” versions of the Panamera for the type of person interesting in a driver’s car but not so interested in driving it. That model sees the vehicle stretched by an extra 5.9 inches to offer additional space for the rear-seat occupants. The company claims the back of the Porsche can be made into a digital work space using a pair of 10-inch detachable tablets and an optional rear multimedia console.

In addition to the new 2.9-liter V6, the Executive Porsches can also be optioned with all the remaining powertrains. The E-Hybrid Executive will have 462 horses, the 4S Executive 440 hp, and the Turbo Exec will put out 550 ponies from the 4.0 liter turbocharged V8.

The LA Auto Show will see the official unveiling of the new base Panamera and hoity-toity Executive models. Porsche says deliveries for the 2017 Panamera 4S and Panamera Turbo will start in January 2017.

[Images: FCA; OFL Communications Department/ Wikimedia Commons ( CC BY 2.0); Porsche]

Join the conversation
3 of 11 comments
  • Dukeisduke Dukeisduke on Nov 11, 2016

    A stretched wheelbase Panamera? Ferdinand Porsche must be doing 10,000 RPM in his grave right now.

    • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Nov 12, 2016

      With an optioned up price in six figures, he's more likely grinning ear to ear.

  • HotPotato HotPotato on Nov 14, 2016

    Somewhere an excited Chinese oligarch is looking at that stretchy Panamera and experiencing a physical reaction that resembles the stretchy Panamera.

  • Cprescott My current ride is paid off in December. Hopefully there will be no more car payments ever. So expensive these days and you have to really pay attention as there are so few actual cars being made in the affordable range.
  • Jeff S Price seems high but then after Covid it probably isn't. Does appear that the car is complete and is restorable. Agree the seller will get at least that price and possibly more. I remember these early Mustangs well when I was growing up and remember the fastbacks were released in August of 64 as a 65 where the regular hardtop and convertible were released as 64 1/2s April 17, 1964. Brylcreem gave one of these original Mustangs away in a mail in contest.
  • Cprescott I can't believe how GM ruined the Camaro with this putrid platform. Cramped, awful interiors and visibility with exterior changes that became even uglier and tacky. Heir Yutz is so proud of it too! The only vehicle in modern history to take so long from concept to production other than the Ford Bronco. It seems it was announced for four years before we saw the hideous work in production.
  • Cprescott The good news is replacement sheet metal and parts are easily found. Would make a nice restoration project even if it is not the most desirable model. I love black cars with red interiors!
  • Cprescott Jim Farley and the Fire Starters. Perhaps he should throw his wig into the fire!