Beleaguered Minivan Plant Granted a Reprieve

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
beleaguered minivan plant granted a reprieve

Home to the Dodge Grand Caravan, Chrysler Pacifica, and now the lower-tier Chrysler Voyager, Fiat Chrysler’s Windsor Assembly won’t see an expected shift cut next month. Instead, thanks to an uptick in volume, company brass has decided to ride out the year.

Originally scheduled to shed a shift (and along with it, about 1,500 jobs) at the end of September, Windsor Assembly will continue with its current workforce until at least New Year’s, Driving reports.

According to Unifor Local 444 president Dave Cassidy, who met Wednesday with FCA bigwigs, the sales picture isn’t as dire as it once appeared. “This is a good news story,” Cassidy said. “We live to fight another day.”

He added, “Sales are better. They have some numbers coming in for minivans that will allow us to maintain the third shift until at the end of the year.”

The announcement of a shift cut came in March, with FCA claiming the move aimed to align production with global demand. FCA employs about 6,100 workers at the minivan plant. In the face of the crossover explosion (some might call it an epidemic), minivans have taken a hit. Those which remain in the segment struggle for any sales headway, though most are on the decline.

While Cassidy welcomes the news, he cautioned that a new model — and not just the Voyager, a low-trim variant of the Pacifica ⁠— is needed to ensure the survival of the threatened shift. The uptick in sales covers both the Pacifica and Grand Caravan, he said, as well as fleet sales.

Thanks to FCA’s decision to move to quarterly sales reporting, we don’t know just how many Americans and Canucks sprung for a minivan last month. However, June showed U.S. Pacifica sales rising 10 percent, year over year. Grand Caravan sales were down 25 percent for the month.

In Canada, the opposite was true. Buyers of the old Dodge brought about a 14 percent uptick in the model’s sales, while Pacifica volume fell 18 percent. With the Voyager not yet on sale, it remains to be seen how the strategy of splitting a van into two models works for the brand.

[Images: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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  • ChevyIIfan ChevyIIfan on Aug 18, 2019

    Just bought a '19 Pacifica Touring L+ last weekend. It was a demo model for a Chrysler executive around here, and has been in service since March. Old lady only drove is 2229 miles since March, and we got it for over $6k off sticker, when the best rebate we would have qualified for on a brand new one would have been about $3500 to 4000. Wife loves it so far.

  • Stayfresh726 Stayfresh726 on Apr 13, 2020

    So i actully own this car..i live in Arizona and i bought it from a solider in the military who had it imported and it has a clean Arizona title i drove it today for easter its for sale and runs great..i actually took my for sale add down last year and just reposted this week

  • Brett Woods My 4-Runner had a manual with the 4-cylinder. It was acceptable but not really fun. I have thought before that auto with a six cylinder would have been smoother, more comfortable, and need less maintenance. Ditto my 4 banger manual Japanese pick-up. Nowhere near as nice as a GM with auto and six cylinders that I tried a bit later. Drove with a U.S. buddy who got one of the first C8s. He said he didn't even consider a manual. There was an article about how fewer than ten percent of buyers optioned a manual in the U.S. when they were available. Visited my English cousin who lived in a hilly suburb and she had a manual Range Rover and said she never even considered an automatic. That's culture for you.  Miata, Boxster, Mustang, Corvette and Camaro; I only want manual but I can see both sides of the argument for a Mustang, Camaro or Challenger. Once you get past a certain size and weight, cruising with automatic is a better dynamic. A dual clutch automatic is smoother, faster, probably more reliable, and still allows you to select and hold a gear. When you get these vehicles with a high performance envelope, dual-clutch automatic is what brings home the numbers. 
  • ToolGuy 2019 had better comments than 2023 😉
  • Inside Looking Out In June 1973, Leonid Brezhnev arrived in Washington for his second summit meeting with President Richard Nixon. Knowing of the Soviet leader’s fondness for luxury automobiles, Nixon gave him a shiny Lincoln Continental. Brezhnev was delighted with the present and insisted on taking a spin around Camp David, speeding through turns while the president nervously asked him to slow down.
  • Bobby D'Oppo Great sound and smooth power delivery in a heavier RWD or AWD vehicle is a nice blend, but current V8 pickup trucks deliver an unsophisticated driving experience. I think a modern full-size pickup could be very well suited to a manual transmission.In reality, old school, revvy atmo engines pair best with manual transmissions because it's so rewarding to keep them in the power band on a winding road. Modern turbo engines have flattened the torque curve and often make changing gears feel more like a chore.
  • Chuck Norton For those worried about a complex power train-What vehicle doesn't have one? I drive a twin turbo F-150 (3.5) Talk about complexity.. It seems reliability based on the number of F-150s sold is a non-issue. As with many other makes/models. I mean how many operations are handle by micro today's vehicles?