By on May 5, 2018

Car building will soon fire up again at Fiat Chrysler’s Brampton, Ontario assembly plant after employees at a just-in-time seat supplier called of their week-long strike. Late Friday, workers at Lear Ajax ratified a four-year wage contract with their employer.

Brampton Assembly, which builds the Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, and Dodge Challenger, cancelled both shifts on Thursday after exhausting its limited seat supply. The new agreement between Lear and its Ajax workforce not only keeps seats flowing to FCA, it also keeps Lear from closing its doors for good.

The supplier’s workers overwhelmingly rejected an earlier contract offer, after which the company sent a letter to union leadership claiming it planned to close the plant. Lear Ajax previously turned out the lights in 2009, only to re-open the following year.

According to Unifor Local 222 President Colin James, the closure threat wasn’t a bargaining tactic. Lear did plan to pull the plug if workers rejected the second offer, James told Automotive News Canada. Go figure, the membership voted 72 percent in favor. The supplier’s employees did win out in the agreement, however, gaining a 15 percent wage increase over the length of the contract, plus a productivity bonus and retirement incentive.

“This was a difficult negotiation but in the end the bargaining committee and the company were able to come to an agreement that provides gains for the workers and keeps these good paying manufacturing jobs in Ajax,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias in a statement.

With business as usual returning to Lear, the same should occur at Brampton this coming week.

Exceptionally long in the tooth, FCA’s rear-drive cars (its only cars, really) are expected to soldier on until a delayed platform swap occurs in 2021. Knowing the automaker, that timeline could change. Originally, FCA planned to move its LX platform cars onto Alfa architecture by 2019.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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29 Comments on “FCA’s Large Cars to Ride on As Supplier Strike Ends...”


  • avatar
    Cactuar

    Retirement incentive… Isn’t that one of those legacy costs plaguing some car makers? Why would they agree to this in 2018? Let the workers put their own cash aside for retirement (what a concept!).

  • avatar
    mikey

    The retirement incentive (usually a lump sum) only applies to plant closures . The incentive was included in the second agreement (after Lear announced the closing ) Lear agreed only so they could meet their obligations to FCA.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      So a near 4% annual increase, well above inflation, seems like a good deal for the workers. If the company was serious about sliding surely they could have squeezed that down to 2% a year.

  • avatar
    redapple

    “Exceptionally long in the tooth……. ”

    But have you driven one for a week>? Say 500 miles?

    Great Cars. Fast even in V 6 trim. 31 MPG on the expressway. Last of the rear drive V-8. Get em while you can.

    Dollar for Dollar – the best big 3 car PERIOD.

    • 0 avatar
      rcx141

      Could not agree more

      Solid, comfortable, quiet, great looking, reliable, value for money cars that eat up hundreds of miles effortlessly.

      Will definitely miss them when they get replaced by a rattly tin can cheap feeling 4 cylinder turbo

    • 0 avatar
      Michael500

      True dat. My cherry red 2014 300 base model is awesome. V-6 motor has a 0-60 times like a 1988 IROC-Z with the ‘Vette 350 motor- at 600 pounds heavier. 8 speed ZF trans is great. Faster than an ES 350 too. Car has attitude, only the cool kids get it.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    That is a beautiful car in the title pic. Always like the look of the 300 than its platform mates. Not that they’re ugly, just the 300 looks classy. I would love to see a 300 coupe.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      I believe that is the “C” model which is mandatory V8 but has a softer suspension than the “S”. If only Cadillacs have that much swagger.

      • 0 avatar
        Middle-Aged (Ex-Miata) Man

        For a few years (up until last year, in fact) you could get a 300C with the Pentastar, but it appears Fiasler returned it to Hemi-only for 2018.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          Well, I’d insist on a V-8 in my ideal 300. I suppose the S would be the best fit for me, but I’d certainly drive it and the C to see which I like more.

          • 0 avatar
            markmeup

            John,

            you can do what I did… get the ‘S’ package, but add on extra luxury & safety-tech features, including some from the C. The HEMI is great for bragging rights, but completely not needed here. The V6/8spd trans combo is amazing + 4500lb car, gets 29-31mpg on the road, in comfort and real style.

            I wanted the high-tech AWD system, (read about how it works, one of the best out there), so that already defaults the V6 only. With the S, you get much nicer seats, ride/handling control, paddles, cleaner/more cohesive look inside and out. Sport and luxury.

            I’ve owned 23 vehicles, 7 new, USA, Europe, Asia, muscle/sport, luxury,SUVs,you name it… I seriously have not loved a car as much as the 300S since my 1995 BMW 540i.

            If FCA sticks to their timeline, I trade for new one more time for a 2020/21 full-tilt loaded 300S before this under-rated, amazing vehicle/platform is forever gone.

            Did I mention that, yes… I love my Chrysler 300S.

    • 0 avatar
      Flipper35

      That blue is outstanding in person.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    I wish automotive journalists would quit pretending that everything that isn’t new within the last 5 years is inherently old, outdated and therefore “bad”. The LX cars were updated fairly recently and continue to offer exceptional value for the money found no where else in the industry. Aside from general FCA quality issues the LX cars are quite possibly the best cars on the road today when your talking under $50k. The same thing applies to the 4Runner in a recent article posted.

    Both of these vehicles are perfect at showing consumers how poorly the car market has fallen in recent years. Step into one of these cars and the driving experience is light years better than “modern” equivalents.

    I’ve recently rented a 2018 Malibu, 2018 Optima, 2017 Equinox and something else that’s alluding me. These cars suck. They all share the common theme of having transmissions that cannot ever find the appropriate gear, as in the drivability suffers. Combine horrible transmission programming with engine performance and characteristics that make the Malaise Era seem flashy and excessive and your left with a bunch of horrible weezy engines cars that are never in the right gear that have to be floored everywhere to keep up with expectations that Americans have for minimal performance.

    I knew that recent automobiles were being neutered but this has been eye opening to see what comes in current midsize cars. I am thoroughly underwhelmed. The driving experience on all of them are frustrating and anxiety building.

    So again I say, while the platforms these cars sit on may be aged, the driving experience they give is significantly more refined and significantly less frustrating.

    • 0 avatar
      Mandalorian

      This.

      Most of us don’t get a new press car in our driveway every week. I keep my vehicles at lest a decade. Being at the bleeding edge just isn’t necessary.

      These cars drive well, and are spacious and comfortable. Why does it matter if the don’t have a brand new platform? They are also updated with all of the latest tech features.

    • 0 avatar
      Felix Hoenikker

      Couldn’t agree more. When something works well, don’t mess with it just to claim that is new and improved when often the “improvement” is often decontenting or worse yet “value engineering”.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      To be fair, you did pick three of the most appliance-like rental cars.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      Well said Hummer. Haven’t seen you around in a while!

      The transition from “old outdated tech” to “modern and up to date” was especially jarring going from my wife’s port injected 2012 Camry SE 4cyl with the 6 speed aisin automatic to a new rental 2018 SE I had. The 2018 had a noisy and unrefined sounding engine at idle and around town (blame the direct injection) and the 8 speed automatic was doing some rather frustrating things under certain fairly trivial conditions (light/med acceleration up hill at 35mph). The old 6spd just did everything right, and even it was tuned a bit too aggressively to seek torque converter lock up and run the engine down at 1k rpms around town which causes a light “rumbling” sensation. I will give the 2018 credit for being noticeably more powerful and snapping off excellent crisp and really fast shifts when accelerating more aggressively onto the highway.

      Take a step even further back in time and while my 1MZ V6 ES300 with the old school 4 speed automatic is definitely significantly less efficient while being no faster than even my wife’s 2.5l 4cyl Camry, that old Lexus can put on a freaking clinic in powertrain smoothness and refinement for the two new Camries, even with 209k miles on the clock and original engine and transmission mounts. Creamy smooth shifts, torque converter plays it fast and loose around town and the engine is a perfect match in terms of smooth torque down low and it stays absolutely silky as the revs climb.

    • 0 avatar
      markmeup

      well stated.

      ‘old’ does not equate/default to bad. but, these days for most, maybe so. at least for the growing lemming, kool-aid drinker crowd.

      the reason i purchased a 300 is exactly because the car does maintain the best of the old, all while adding on the best of the new. therefore, leaving out, the worst of the old… and new. a rare bird these days. TY Chrysler.

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    “the Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, and Dodge Challenger, ”

    These are ‘niche’ cars because what is trending now, and for the foreseeable future, are SUVs and CUVs because of their ride height and visibility.

    There will always be SOME people who will buy these large sedans for posterity sake, but just not enough of them to make them profitable. The cash cows (pickup trucks and SUVs/CUVs) have to make up for the losses.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I believe FCA claims that in their current form the LX cars are still profitable (otherwise they would have been dropped like the Dart/200).

      The problem is I don’t think there is enough money in the segment to justify a major overhaul.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        “I don’t think there is enough money in the segment to justify a major overhaul.”

        This is very true and that’s why these cars will soldier on as the status quo, without overhaul.

        (As an aside, my #2 son owned a 5.7L 300 some years ago, and it was a great riding sedan that just oozed smooth power, even around the Lake Tahoe mountain area.)

    • 0 avatar
      ernest

      They’re rolling out roughly 16,000 units/mo, which isn’t shabby for a niche product that’s had its R&D amortized awhile back.

  • avatar
    hamish42

    The cops around here drive mainly Chargers. By the time you load up 2 burly guys, their onboard computers, their communication gear and their weapons it looks like on of those cars the circus clowns used to use. I don’t know how they breath. The only one with room is the jerk in the back. They are evolving into SUVs – horribly expensive to buy, maintain, and gas up. But even the cops are abandoning the RWD platforms. I can’t say I blame them.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      There is like $3-4k difference in the price of a Ford Interceptor Sedan and Utility. Its not that much of a step.

      Even though fueleconomy.gov doesn’t list the Police Interceptor versions, there is a horrible 1 MPG difference in combined for the FWD Non-EcoBoost V-6 Taurus and Explorer. They use exactly the same engine, trans and so forth. No real differences in maintenance costs, either.

      So, $4k and you loose 1 MPG give or take, its not that big of a penalty with the added room. And one more reason why the people propping up cars as MPG significant compared to crossovers are out of touch.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    These are the new Ford Panther platform, but are better cars in every way than those Fords ever were. I know that the auto press loves “all new” designs, but often “all new” means “not really better, maybe worse”.

    There is no good reason to do a 100% redesign for vehicles in this class, but there is also no reason to stop making them. Tooling and development are all paid for. Nobody else serves this niche. Hellcats keep a buzz for the brand. Keep making money and filling a need everyone else is abandoning. FCA’s car strategy actually makes more sense all the time. Meanwhile, Jeeps are bringing in the money.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    I’ve decided to give in to the LX platform, a 6-speed manual Challenger R/T will be my next ride. I’ve never had a Chrysler product before but I’m interested in the RWD/large car segment, and with no B-Bodies and the age of the Panthers, where is there left to go?

  • avatar
    fenwayy

    They should get incentives for making more of those great”S” model seats.
    GOLD !!

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