By on April 30, 2018

2017 Dodge Challenger GT AWD, Image: FCA

If every full-size car built by Fiat Chrysler was a Dodge Demon, the automaker’s limited supply of seats wouldn’t be as big an issue.

Well, the Demon’s dead, and all of the Chrysler 300s, Dodge Chargers, and Dodge Challengers built at FCA’s Brampton, Ontario assembly plant need a place for five occupants to plant their asses. As of a minute after midnight on Saturday morning, those seats are no longer rolling out of supplier Lear Ajax. A production slowdown in Brampton ensues.

The 320 Lear workers voted 99 percent to strike after failing to reach a collective agreement with their employer, which they did starting April 28th. Lear is a just-in-time seating supplier for the big car plant in Brampton.

“Unifor bargained up until the deadline but unfortunately it became clear that Lear was just unwilling to make a fair offer,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias in a statement.

Unifor also represents autoworkers at all of the Detroit Three’s Canadian plants. The president of Unifor Local 222, which represents the Lear employees, said “members are united and we are determined to obtain an agreement that addresses the workers’ key issues.”

According to Automotive News, the loss of seats has had an immediate and obvious impact on car production. Ardis Snow, plant chair for Unifor Local 1285 at Brampton, said day shift workers could expect 4 hours of work on Monday. As for afternoon shift workers, “I expect they’ll be sent home early, as well,” he said.

Lear workers last walked off the job in 2014.

If you’re assuming last month saw sales of large FCA cars reach new depths, thus making this strike pointless in the grand scheme, you’d be wrong. (Though it will take some time for FCA to burn through its inventory if the strike grinds on.) Each of the LX platform rear-drive cars built at Brampton saw year-over-year sales gains in the U.S. in March. Challenger sales rose 31 percent last month, with year-to-date volume up 12 percent. The 300 saw its sales rise 25 percent, year over year, though its tally over the first three months of 2018 shows a definite downward trend. Sales are off Q1 2017 figures by 14 percent.

The Charger appears the least volatile of the three. March sales were up 3 percent, with year-to-date sales down 5 percent.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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15 Comments on “Large Fiat Chrysler Cars Suffer Production Setback as Supplier Goes on Strike...”

  • avatar

    I think Lear makes seats?

    • 0 avatar

      “As of a minute after midnight on Saturday morning, those seats are no longer rolling out of supplier Lear Ajax.”

      I think so?

    • 0 avatar

      They’ve been making seats for quite awhile, going back to at least the ’80s. I can remember some Camaro models touted as having optional seats made by “Lear Siegler” – Gen 3 Camaros, IIRC.

      Update: Here we go, the Lear Siegler “Conteur” seats. Definitely an ’80s thing, like Hair Metal bands:

      I read somewhere recently (the last couple of years) that someone was making purses out of the upholstery material with the “CAMARO” lettering.

  • avatar

    Well since nobody buys cars on this continent this should not matter much /s

  • avatar

    Charger least production variability? —Police production high percentage of build> built in leveler.

    Charger and 300. Great cars. I think the DEADWEIGHT once said the 300 should be what caddy’s flagship should be. He s right.

    I got 31 MPG on my last V6 Charger rental. AND it was fast enough for this old guy.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    They should just buy their seats from Volkswagen’s SEAT group.

  • avatar

    They should have stayed with JCI Orangeville for their seats…

    • 0 avatar
      Mr Vice City Vision Murdoch

      Lear trims the seat. The foam is split between 2 feeder plants both operated by Woodbridge Foam Corp. One in Whitby and one in Toronto. JCI also doesn’t do foam in North America anymore. Only small stuff like headrests and arm rests.

  • avatar
    Mike Beranek

    Kind of surprising that sales of these cars are up while every other car is down. It could be the commercials with the brothers tearing ass around town, or it could be a Trump-related “back to the old days” thing.
    A big question is whether large-car buyers blown off by Ford and GM will migrate over to Highland Park. With the demise of the Taurus and Impala, we’ve ditched the American automotive paradigm for a European one, where the size of a car is directly correlated with the price. Why is it so wrong to want a large sedan with cloth seats and a sub-$30k sticker?

  • avatar

    I would gladly buy a car without seats… just discount it enough for me to buy some nice Recaro seats, and let’s call it a day.

    Seriously, there are very few car manufacturers with decent seats. There’s Volvo…and then some of the other luxury manufacturers are able to put decent seats in some of their models, if you pay a bunch extra.

    Subaru definitely makes some horrible seats. Our Outback had seats that were less comfortable than a Hyundai Accent.

    • 0 avatar
      Compaq Deskpro

      Worst car seat I’ve sat in was the front passenger seat of a 2016 Camry LE. Painful lower back, pinched nerve in the legs, weird pressure points. My base Challenger has very comfy and supportive cloth seats, and I hope they keep cranking them out.

  • avatar

    FCA: Dodge testing – RAM it into production.

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