Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO, Sergio Marchionne has put a timetable on the long-anticipated changeover at Chrysler Canada's Windsor, Ontario assembly plant. He announced yesterday that it will be shut down for a 12-week period that overlaps the first and second quarters of 2015.
The Windsor plant currently builds both Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country models but only the Chrysler branded minivans will carry on into the next generation. Whether they will continue to wear the Town & Country nameplate has not yet been revealed.
This year is the 30th anniversary of Chrysler's first minivans, which introduced a whole new vehicle segment to the market and spawned competitors from several other automakers. The Dodge version has been consistently among the best-selling vehicles in Canada throughout that time.
Potential government funding of up to $700-million (CDN) for the Windsor plant upgrade became a matter of political debate during the Ontario provincial election campaign last spring, prompting Marchionne to withdraw all requests for funding and refuse to take part in any subsequent discussions.