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FCA cutting production as inventories rise

by David Zatz on

Across the US automotive industry, car inventories are rising. Maybe it’s not surprising, then, that FCA will be idling several plants to cut production.

Though there’s been no official announcement, union reps said that the Windsor minivan plant would take an extra two weeks of vacation. As an aside, a Chrysler-branded, Pacifica-based crossover has long been rumored for that plant, “when Caravan production ends.” Caravan sales are still higher than Pacifica’s; hopefully FCA will dive in with the new model before they completely shut down the Caravan.

On the lighter side, the Windsor plant, according to our sources, has increased its World Class Manufacturing score by two points. It’s now tied for second place in North America with Toledo Assembly (Jeep Wrangler), at 67 points; the top North American plant is Dundee Engine (four-cylinders), with 68 points. Windsor was also the first plant in North America to score four points in the Quality and Customer Safety pillar.

The company has officially announced that the Brampton and Warren Truck plants will close from January 2 to January 12.  Brampton makes the company’s large cars, whose sales have only been mildly lower than year-to-date in 2017; and Warren makes the Ram 1500 Classic, the prior-generation pickups. Warren is due for a refurbishment and then new product—the Jeep Wagoneer and possibly a related Chrysler or Dodge full-size SUV (some believe the Durango will move to the new platform, and be replaced by a three-row Grand Cherokee, possibly named Grander Cherokee or Gran Grand Cherokee, or perhaps Ultra Cherokee).

The Wrangler and Grand Cherokee/Durango plants will run over the winter break, but will be idled in January for maintenance and, in some cases, to prepare for new product. Sterling Heights, the new Ram plant, will also be idled from January 2 to January 12, but this is said to be for maintenance and future-model preparation, rather than for inventory adjustment.


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