Beleaguered Minivan Plant Granted a Reprieve

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

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]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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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

  • Zipper69 Current radio ads blare "your local Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram dealer" and the facias read the same. Is the honeymoon with FIAT over now the 500 and big 500 have stopped selling?
  • Kjhkjlhkjhkljh kljhjkhjklhkjh hmmm get rid of the garbage engine in my chevy, and the garbage under class action lawsuit transmission? sounds good to me
  • ToolGuy Personally I have no idea what anyone in this video is talking about, perhaps someone can explain it to me.
  • ToolGuy Friendly reminder of two indisputable facts: A) Winners buy new vehicles (only losers buy used), and B) New vehicle buyers are geniuses (their vehicle choices prove it):
  • Groza George Stellantis live off the back of cheap V8 cars with old technology and suffers from lack of new product development. Now that regulations killed this market, they have to ditch the outdated overhead.They are not ready to face the tsunami of cheap Chinese EVs or ready to even go hybrid and will be left in the dust. I expect most of their US offerings to be made in Mexico in the future for good tariff protection and lower costs of labor instead of overpriced and inflexible union labor.