Fiat Chrysler Shuts Down Pacifica Hybrid Production Amid Safety Recall: Report

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
fiat chrysler shuts down pacifica hybrid production amid safety recall report

Despite being lauded for its high level of content, smooth ride, and all-electric range, Chrysler’s plug-in hybrid minivan has hit a large roadblock. After voluntarily recalling all Pacifica Hybrids due to a safety defect that could see the minivan go dark at inopportune times, it seems the assembly line has ground to a halt in Windsor, Ontario.

A recall earlier this month saw Fiat Chrysler Automobiles call back 1,368 vehicles in the U.S. and 309 in Canada following complaints of loss of propulsion. The issue reportedly stems from defective inverter diodes. While the wonky electrified powertrain hasn’t resulted in any crashes or injuries, electrified cars that suddenly stop sending current to the motor aren’t something customers or the automaker can tolerate.

It’s a serious stumble for FCA’s green halo car.

According to the The Wall Street Journal, FCA’s Windsor Assembly plant, which produces both the Pacifica and older Dodge Grand Caravan, has stopped producing the hybrid variant. The stoppage reportedly began several weeks ago. (FCA hasn’t made the shutdown public.)

As the automaker attempts to add some environmental sensitivity to its truck and SUV-heavy product lineup, it seems FCA’s greenest vehicles have become the most controversial. The company’s EcoDiesel fiasco has spurred a stop-sale order for uncertified 2017 Jeep and Ram models, condemnation from the Environmental Protection Agency, and a lawsuit from the U.S. Department of Justice. Now, America’s first hybrid minivan finds itself idled just it was beginning to find customers.

It’s a “black eye,” one dealer told the WSJ. Bill Bernard, general manager of an FCA dealership in Fredonia, N.Y., lamented, “Chrysler does a very poor job of launching new products.”

Sources familiar with the matter say FCA executives are confident Pacifica Hybrid production will start up in time to meet existing orders. For the sake of the brand, it had better. Minivans are no longer the sales powerhouse they were in the 1980s and 90s. And, with the Pacifica Hybrid being the priciest variant in the FCA minivan lineup — the Hybrid carries a U.S. MSRP of $41,995, or $13,000 more than a base Pacifica — the last thing the automaker needs is a model-tarnishing vehicle shortage.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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  • Kobo1d Kobo1d on Jun 27, 2017

    We just purchased a new minivan this weekend after our Mazda3 committed seppuku a week prior via head gasket failure. It was too small for our growing family, so we just moved up our already-planned minivan purchase a year or so. What we wanted to consider: Odyssey, Sedona, Pacifica, and Pacifica Hybrid. However there wasn't a single hybrid on the ground in Northern California and none of the dealers would say why or when they would get one. My wife liked the Pacifica best of the three, so we bought a new Pacifica LX for $25500 out-the-door. It's hard to know if we would have loved and purchased the much more expensive hybrid if Chrysler simply had one for sale.

  • Tassos What was the last time we had any good news from Ford? (or GM for that matter?)The last one was probably when Alan Mulally was CEO. Were you even born back then?Fields was a total disaster, then they go hire this clown from Toyota's PR department, the current Ford CEO, Fart-ley or something.He claims to be an auto enthusiast too (unlike Mary Barra who is even worse, but of course always forgiven, as she is the proud owner of a set of female genitals.
  • Tassos I know some would want to own a collectible Mustang. (sure as hell not me. This crappy 'secretary's car' (that was exactly its intended buying demo) was as sophisticated (transl. : CRUDE) as the FLintstone's mobile. Solid Real Axle? Are you effing kidding me?There is a huge number of these around, so they are neither expensive nor valuable.WHen it came out, it was $2,000 or so new. A colleague bought a recent one with the stupid Ecoboost which also promised good fuel economy. He drives a hard bargain and spends time shopping and I remember he paid $37k ( the fool only bought domestic crap, but luckily he is good with his hands and can fix lots of stuff on them).He told me that the alleged fuel economy is obtained only if you drive it like a VERY old lady. WHich defeats the purpose, of course, you might as well buy a used Toyota Yaris (not even a Corolla).
  • MRF 95 T-Bird Back when the Corolla consisted of a wide range of body styles. This wagon, both four door and two door sedans, a shooting brake like three door hatch as well as a sports coupe hatchback. All of which were on the popular cars on the road where I resided.
  • Wjtinfwb Jeez... I've got 3 Ford's and have been a defender due to my overall good experiences but this is getting hard to defend. Thinking the product durability testing that used to take months to rack up 100k miles or more is being replaced with computer simulations that just aren't causing these real-world issues to pop up. More time at the proving ground please...
  • Wjtinfwb Looks like Mazda put more effort into sprucing up a moribund product than Chevy did with the soon to be euthanized '24 Camaro.