Stellantis keeping second shift at Ontario minivan plant

Stellantis won’t eliminate a shift at its minivan plant in Windsor, Ont., after all.

“We are happy to announce that we were just notified by Stellantis that they are rescinding the letter to eliminate the second shift,” Unifor Local 444 President Dave Cassidy said in a post on the chapter’s official Facebook page.

Stellantis later confirmed its decision to Automotive News Canada but didn’t say why it reversed the decision it had made back in October 2021.

The automaker said in September this year that it would continue to build minivans on two shifts at the Windsor Assembly Plant until at least the end of June 2023, according to the union.

Stellantis said in October 2021 that it would eliminate the second shift in early spring of 2022, but it has since extended the life of the shift four times, including this latest decision.

Stellantis eliminated the third shift two years ago, cutting about 1,400 jobs in the process. 

About 4,500 people, the majority of them Unifor members, build the Chrysler Pacifica and Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid for global markets, the Chrysler Grand Caravan for the Canadian market and Chrysler Voyager for fleet sales.

Meanwhile, Stellantis and LG Energy Solution are building a $5.2-billion electric-vehicle battery plant in Windsor. It is expected to launch production in the first quarter of 2024.

During the first nine months of the year, Canadian sales of the Pacifica were up 52.6 per cent to 5,989 this year while Grand Caravan sales rose 18.8 per cent to 2,879.

News of the reinstatement of the second shift comes just months after Sam Fiorani, vice-president of global vehicle forecasting at U.S.-based AutoForecast Solutions, told Automotive News Canada that the next-generation of the Dodge Charger and Challenger will be built in Windsor.

Stellantis confirmed in May that Charger, Challenger and Chrysler 300 production would end in Brampton in 2024 when the plant pauses for a retool. It also said the Windsor Assembly Plant (WAP) would host STLA Large, a new vehicle platform catering mainly to battery-electric vehicles (BEVs).

But the company has not disclosed any future product mandates for the Brampton or Windsor plants, and in the case of the Charger and Challenger, Stellantis has not officially confirmed whether next-generation models are planned at all.

With files from Automotive News Canada.

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