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Unifor seeks new models for Windsor FCA minivan plant

John Irwin, Automotive News Canada
September 28, 2020

Unifor wants as many as two new models to be built alongside the minivans at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Windsor, Ont., assembly plant, where one of three shifts was recently cut amid shrinking sales in the segment.

Unifor will also push FCA for clarity on its plans for the Brampton, Ont., assembly plant, which builds the aging but profitable Dodge Charger and Dodge Challenger, as well as the Chrysler 300.

“We have a full plate in front of us with Fiat Chrysler,” Unifor President Jerry Dias said.

Negotiations between FCA and the Canadian union, which represents about 9,000 workers covered under contracts with FCA, were set to kick into gear this week, pending the ratification of a tentative contract with Ford Motor Co.

While Windsor might take center stage in discussions, the Brampton plant’s future has long been the subject of speculation. While the Charger and Challenger are believed to be highly profitable vehicles for FCA, they also sit on aging platforms.

It remains unclear how the gas-powered Charger and Challenger will fit in with Stellantis’ long-term EV strategy.

Unifor, however, has made securing EV and hybrid production a top priority and could view such vehicles as a potential solution in the coming years, as evidenced with its tentative deal with Ford.

“Electrification opportunities” for Brampton intrigued Flavio Volpe, the head of Canada’s Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association. He has advocated for more EV production in Canada as a way to ensure the long-term viability of automaking in the country.

“I think there’s a lot of potential in Brampton,” he said.

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