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FCA shortens shifts at Canada minivan plant to adjust inventory

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FCA shortens shifts at Canada minivan plant to adjust inventory

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is shortening production shifts at its Canada minivan plant in order to adjust for inventories, the company told Automotive News Canada on Monday.

“Regular production schedules are expected to resume in April,” FCA Canada spokeswoman Lou Ann Gosselin said in an email.

“We are not providing details beyond the statement,” Gosselin said when asked specifically whether the line has been slowed to stem production or the actual time an employee spends in the factory is being shortened.

The short shifts come after the company already temporarily idled the plant three times in 2019. The plant did not operate the first two weeks of January in order to adjust for inventories. It then idled the plant the week of Feb. 18 due to a parts shortage, the company said.

About 6,000 employees at Windsor Assembly build the Dodge Grand Caravan, Chrysler Pacifica and the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid on three shifts daily, usually six days per week. 

Running at full volume, the plant produces nearly 1,500 minivans per day.

Pacifica sales in the United States in 2018 were unchanged at 118,322, off just 48 units from the year before. 

The Pacifica had 88 days of supply in the United States as of March 1, 2019, according to the Automotive News Data Center in Detroit. The Grand Caravan had 20 days of supply. Similar data isn’t made public in Canada.

U.S. sales of the Pacifica are down 24 percent to 14,817 units through February while Grand Caravan sales are down 27 percent to 19,634 units.

Pacifica sales in Canada are down 54 percent to 512 units through the first two months of 2019. Grand Caravan sales are down 20 percent to 4,836 units.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is expected to begin retooling the Windsor plant this summer to add an all-wheel drive powertrain to the Chrysler Pacifica minivan, according to a senior union official.

Dave Cassidy, president of Unifor Local 444, said the Windsor Assembly Plant could go down for an additional three weeks following a two-week summer shutdown slated for the weeks of July 8 and 15.

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