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

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
for fiat chrysler minivans and muscle cars might have to wait

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]

Join the conversation
2 of 7 comments
  • 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.

  • MaintenanceCosts All I want is one more cylinder. One more cylinder and I would happily pay the diesel fraud company almost whatever they wanted for it.
  • SPPPP US like Citroen - nothing moves.
  • Jeff S Corey--Thanks again for this serious and despite the lack of comments this is an excellent series. Powell Crosley does not get enough recognition and is largely forgotten even in his hometown of Cincinnati although the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Airport has 2 Crosley cars on display. Crosley revolutionized radios by making an affordable radio that the masses could afford similar to what Henry Ford did with the Model T. Both Crosley and Ford did not invent the radio and the car but they made them widespread by making them affordable. I did not know about the Icyball but I did know about Crosley refrigerators, airplanes, cars, and radios.
  • Oberkanone C5 Aircross is the only vehicle that would have any appeal in North America. Can't see it doing well with Citroen badge, maybe a chance with Chrysler badge.
  • Oberkanone 1921 thru 1936 are the best