Unifor Official: Expect an All-Wheel Drive Chrysler Pacifica
More voices are piping up, alerting minivan-loving North Americans to a future offering from Fiat Chrysler. With the segment shrinking in the face of overwhelming competition from spacious, pleasant-riding crossovers, the possibility of an all-wheel drive Chrysler Pacifica is big news, and one Canadian union official claims it’s on the way.
In the minivan market, it looks like Toyota’s Sienna won’t stand alone as the only AWD offering for long.
According to Automotive News, Dave Cassidy, president of Unifor Local 444, FCA claims will begin retooling its Windsor, Ontario assembly plant this summer to add the AWD version to the minivan mix. This move, Cassidy said, could lengthen the plant’s planned July shutdown for an additional three weeks.
FCA hasn’t confirmed the AWD Pacifica or the extended downtime, which would push Windsor’s downtime to five weeks.
Earlier this month, another report, drawing on a number of sources, claimed FCA indeed plans to offer a more capable Pacifica, after passing on the idea at the time of the model’s launch. In that piece, another Unifor official said FCA was exploring the possibility of an AWD Pacifica. Joe McCabe, CEO of AutoForecast Solutions, said his sources pointed to a second-quarter 2020 launch of the grippier minivan, adding that the move would bring “relevance” to the model.
Certainly, adding AWD would cause more than a few Pacifica fence-sitters to switch their outlook from “maybe” to “buy” — especially those living in inclimate regions of the continent. Toyota Canada claims 58 percent of the Siennas it sold last year were AWD models.
Windsor Assembly saw a number of shutdowns this past winter. A two-week January idle period sought to pare down inventories of the Pacifica and Dodge Grand Caravan, while a parts shortage in February saw the plant go dark for a week. Over the first two months of 2019, Pacifica sales fell 24 percent in the United States, with the Grand Caravan falling 27 percent. Last year, Pacifica sales rose 21 percent over the previous year’s tally, with Pacifica sales staying static.
[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]
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