Stellantis delays shift cut at Chrysler minivan plant until year's end

Breana Noble
The Detroit News

The maker of the Chrysler Pacifica has extended second-shift production of the minivan at its Windsor Assembly Plant through the end of the year, the automaker confirmed on Thursday.

Stellantis NV in October had announced plans to cut the 1,800-person shift at the Ontario plant that employs almost 4,300 people. The indefinite layoffs would've taken place earlier this month, with the automaker citing a global semiconductor shortage and lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. In February, the company said it was extending the shift until the end of June.

Windsor Assembly Plant produces the Chrysler Pacifica and Voyager minivans.

In the first quarter, Stellantis sold 26,366 Pacificas in the United States, down 23% year-over-year.

"We're going to keep working on that and moving forward, but great news today," Dave Cassidy, president of Local 444 for Canadian autoworkers union Unifor, said in a video posted on Twitter. "Second shift at Windsor Assembly Plant has been extended until the end of the year."

Despite plans for the layoff, Stellantis has said it will uphold commitments from its 2020 contract with Unifor. That includes a $1.13 billion investment into Windsor by 2024 for a new platform that supports electrified vehicles, which Unifor says should return the plant to three shifts after the Dodge Grand Caravan was discontinued in 2020.

That commitment also appears backed by Stellantis announcing last month it is investing $4.1 billion with Korean battery manufacturer LG Energy Solution into a gigafactory to supply batteries for electric vehicles built in North America, though the city of Windsor has to expropriate a home first.

Windsor isn't the only plant that has been hurt by supply-chain problems. Stellantis' Jeep Cherokee plant in Belvidere, Illinois, lost its second shift last year.