Preparing the Windsor plant for the 2008 and 2017 minivans

Getting ready for the 2008s: Relatively minor changes

Chrysler sent $511 million in 2005 to upgrade the historic Windsor (Ontario, Canada) Assembly Plant. They could build three different platforms while piloting a fourth on the same production line, though this was never done.

The plant kept its under-body flexible pallet system, installed in 2000. Similar systems were later used at the Sterling Heights plant in Michigan and the Toledo North Plant in Ohio.

Once assembled, over 350 points were automatically checked for weld precision and dimensional quality. Ergonomic assist arms eased installation of seats and cockpit, suspension, and front-end modules.

$225 million went toward a new 185,000 square foot paint shop capable of painting eleven body styles, with robotic applications of two types of sound dampeners. The ovens, booths, fans, and 127 robots were controlled by an environmental management system, and automation kept employees out of the hazardous material area.

The powder spray booth had new temperature controls and a re-circulated air supply to cut energy use. The condensate control tunnel used less power and cut both defects and solvent emissions. “Bottom Entry and Exit” ovents saved heat and prevented foreign material from getting in. A new sludge dryer allowed waste to be used as a supplemental fuel (though this was not done in 2008).

line check

Robotic electrostatic bell applicators used less energy and paint, cutting solvent emissions and raising quality. A rapid repair system ended the need to reprocess the entire vehicle and an automatic system checked on paint quality.

engine line

Agreements with the Canadian Auto Workers made it easier to change working methods and provided for work teams, self-designed work stations, and flexible job classifications. The plant employed 4,600 people in early 2007 and, shortly after, became the sole minivan plant, when St. Louis was shut down.

dodge caravan

2. Getting ready for the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica: Major changes in 2014-15


On Friday, December 26, Chrysler Canada started using a 600-ton crane to start creating a new conveyor enclosure on the plant’s roof. The 20 foot tall enclosure now houses the plant’s new skillet line, which adjusts its height to ideal levels for workers, improving quality (with a better line of sight) and avoiding injuries.

At the end of 2014, the 4.4 million square feet Windsor Assembly Plant employed 4,600 employees across three shifts to produce the Dodge Grand Caravan, Chrysler Town & Country, Ram Cargo Van, and Lancia Grand Voyager. In March 2014, Windsor was the first FCA North America plant to get a Silver award in World Class Manufacturing.

crane and trailer for Windsor Minivan

The first 2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivans for resale were made in March 2016, to arrive at dealerships in April. See the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica being made on May 6, 2016.

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