An auto analyst specializing in vehicle forecasting expects the Dodge Challenger and Charger, along with the new Chrysler Airflow, to be built at the Windsor assembly plant.
“The Windsor assembly plant will be converted to support battery-electric vehicle capability for multiple models – built on the new STLA Large Platform,” Stellantis officials announced earlier in June.
“The plant will have maximum flexibility to adjust production volumes as required to meet changing market demands over the next decade,” reads a media release from the company.
“There has been a lot of speculation, and while we are not ready to discuss any production details today, we are pleased to confirm that Windsor will be producing vehicles on our new STLA Large platform,” said Mark Stewart, COO of Stellentis North America. . “These announcements represent key parts of our bold forward strategy to provide safe, clean and affordable mobility solutions for our customers long into the future.”
Auto analyst Sam Fiorani, vice president of global vehicle forecasting at AutoForecast Solutions LLC, says the STLA large platform is dynamic and allows for fully electrified power trains or hybridized power trains, making the line more flexible for different products.
He noted that the addition of the Charger, Challenger and Airflow would make perfect sense to bring the Windsor plant to three-shift operations as the facility has the capacity to produce up to 400,000 vehicles annually.
“150,000 minivans per year are not using that plant properly,” Fiorani said. “Adding 100,000 or 150,000 Airflows and Chargers and Challengers? Now we have a plant that is profitable.”
Fiorani predicts the new product will provide stability for the plant, which has operated minivans along the line since 1983.
“This is the best shape the Windsor plant has been in for many years and we hope to continue production through at least the end of this decade,” Fiorani said.
“People assume a lot of things,” said Dave Cassidy, president of Unifor Local 444. “I know we’re going to be the only facility in the world, I believe, to have an internal combustion engine, PHEV (hybrid) and battery electric running on the same production line.”
Cassidy said he would wait for the automaker to make it official, but noted the $3.6 billion investment by Stellantis to retool the Windsor and Brampton assembly plants will help secure an electric future at both facilities.
“You can’t put all your eggs in one basket, you know, we have to make sure that we can diversify that plant that we can have all kinds of vehicles,” Cassidy said. “Bring us anything. Bring us a truck, bring us a car, bring us an SUV: we’ll build it because you know what I always say, if you want to build it right, you build it right here in Windsor.”
“Do we know we’re coming in three shifts? Absolutely,” Cassidy said. “That’s what we focus on.”
Retooling is expected to begin in June of 2023, with the shutdown lasting nine weeks.
Cassidy said workers will need to put in enough hours between now and next June, and if that’s the case, they should be eligible for full EI benefits.