For Fiat Chrysler, Minivans and Muscle Cars Might Have to Wait

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Fiat Chrysler is prepared to ramp up its U.S. manufacturing presence starting May 18th, but the situation on the south side of the Detroit River is another story. That’s according to Unifor President Jerry Dias, whose union represents Detroit Three autoworkers in Canada.

Dias’ U.S. counterpart, UAW President Rory Gamble, is now on board with FCA’s restart plan after initially opposing an early return to work, but the Canadian labor official is now having a change of heart.

Last month, Dias seemed eager to get plants open ASAP, but not anymore. He told Automotive News that the automaker’s 8,500 workers remain in an uncertain amount of danger, despite plans for medical assessment tents and various indoor mitigation measures outside FCA facilities.

“The bottom line is I’m not sure if I’m there at all,” Dias told the publication in advance of FCA’s official announcement of a cross-border May 18th restart.

On the other side of the river, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer could still put the brakes on a restart; thus far, the existing stay-at-home order will run out on May 15th, though the emergency order — which does not impact manufacturing plants — has since been extended.

In Ontario, where FCA’s Windsor minivan and Brampton LX-platform car assembly plants reside, Premier Doug Ford has extended his jurisdiction’s emergency orders to May 19th. An easing in workplace shutterings began May 4th, though only for a select few types of businesses.

“I need to make sure their concerns are completely alleviated before we would give any sort of a green light,” said Dias of local union leaders. “With this date being kicked around, I’m going to have to have another conversation. The bottom line is, before I give anything the final seal of approval, I have to makes sure the local union leadership is comfortable with what transpired in the plants. Until they give me the go-ahead, I’m not there.”

It’s assumed that conversation is now underway, if not already completed. Dias mentioned that workers at the Windsor plant are scheduled to undergo coronavirus-related health and safety training on Friday.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler]

Steph Willems
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  • Lorenzo Lorenzo on May 06, 2020

    Well, there's always Jeep assembly in Toledo. Ohio will be back to normal before Michigan, Illinois, and Canada. I don't know how bad the Wuhan virus situation is in FCA's Mexican plants (Tijuana has problems), but Ram Trucks might still be coming for awhile.

  • Scott Scott on May 06, 2020

    GM powertrain in Canada starts some production on the 11th, and starts gaining speed from there.

  • Lorenzo Subaru had the ideal wagon - in 1995. The Legacy Outback was a straight two-box design with rear quarter and back windows you could see out of, and was available in brown with a 5-speed manual, as God and TTAC commenters intended. It's nice they're not raising prices, but when you've lost the plot, does it matter?
  • Bkojote Remember a month a go when Cleveland wanted to create a more walkable Cleveland and TTAC's 'BIG GOVERNMENT IS THE PROBLEM' dumbest and dullest all collectively crapped their diapers? Here's the thing- look on any American highway and it's littered with people who don't /want/ to be driving or shouldn't be. Look at every Becky on her phone during the morning commute in her Tucson, look at every Brad aggro driving his 84 month loan GMC. Hell look how many drivers nowadays can't even operate a headlight switch. You expect these people to understand a stoplight? In my neighborhood alone 4 people have been rear ended at lights from someone on their phone. Distracted driving over the past 10 years has spiked, and it's only going to get worse unless Becky has an alternative, because no judge is going to pull her license when 'she needs it to get to work!' but heaven forbid she not check fb/tiktok for 40 minutes a day.
  • Scott Shouldn't the The Italian Minister for Business be criticizing The Milano for being too ugly to be Italian?Better use of resources doing that....
  • Steve Biro Frankly, while I can do without Eyesight and automatic start-stop, there is generally less B-S with Subarus in terms of design, utility and off-road chops than with many other brands. I just hope that when they adopt Toyota’s hybrid system, they’ll also use Toyota’s eCVT.
  • The Oracle These are all over the roads in droves here in WNC. Rarely see one on the side of the road, they are wildly popular, capable, and reliable. There is a market for utilitarian vehicles.