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Inside minivan plant upgrades

by David Zatz on

According to a Windsor insider, upgrades to the sole Chrysler minivan plant are “different from any change I have ever seen. I returned to work to see the long, empty Pacifica body shop full of robots and conveyors. Windsor has an astounding amount of floor space that has been unused for years.”

The 2016 model year Chrysler Town & Country is reportedly to stay in production until January 2016, with its replacing coming in that month for resale vehicles. Production of the next-generation “RU” vans is actually start in late November 2015 or early December, but these will be advance testing and press vehicles, not for sale to the public.

The current Dodge Caravan, according to sources, is to be built until March 2016. At that point, the nameplate will reportedly be laid to rest in the United States, after being attached to minivans for 32 years (the Voyager name, which is still used in Europe, was attached to Plymouth B-vans before being used for minivans, and has an even longer history).

Given that Dodge Caravan is responsible for roughly 80% of Canadian minivan sales, there is a possibility that the Town & Country will be marketed as the Chrysler Caravan or Dodge Caravan in Canada, but this remains unknown. Chrysler Canada has a history of selling cars under different names, from the original M-body Caravelle to the Chrysler Daytona and Chrysler Neon.

The company recently announced that expansion and upgrades had begun. Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne had tried to gain government assistance for the upgrades, but eventually moved on using Chrysler’s own capital.

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