Workers at the Windsor assembly plant got a glimpse of what is expected to be in their future on Wednesday as the body of a new Dodge Charger was in the facility’s metal shop.
While Stellantis has not publicly confirmed any product placements, AutoForecast Solutions’ vice president of global vehicle forecasting, Sam Fiorani, said Charger/Challenger and Airflow Concepts are expected to be added to the product mix at Windsor.
The plant will also continue to produce the Pacifica range of minivans.
“Right now, we have a minivan, a Charger/Challenger and a Chrysler Air Flow concept at this plant,” Fiorani said.
I added a battery factory and Windsor would be a great place for you
They’ve changed a few things in the last year or two. We originally assigned this (Charger/Challenger) to the Belvidere (Illinois), but it makes sense to be with the minivan because they’ll share a (big STLA) platform in the end.
“It will fill Windsor much better than having it as just a small plant.”
The company is currently working with stores on the tools needed to build a new version of the battery electric for muscle vehicles.
The Airflow Concept vehicle, which is still under construction, is expected to be ready for 2025.
“Think of it as a mid-size crossover to fill a gap in the Chrysler lineup,” Fiorani said. “The airflow is 100 percent Chrysler’s model.”
Fiorani said the latest updates received this week are the launch of the Challenger into production in June 2024 and the Charger starting in September.
This will be the second time the charger has been built at the Windsor Assembly after an earlier assignment from 1975-1978. This will be the first time cars have come off the line at the factory since 1983.
Fiorani confirmed that the Windsor Assembly is scheduled to close for retooling from June through late August.
“I feel very optimistic now,” Cassidy said of the future of the plant with a variety of products expected to arrive.
“I’m even more excited about getting back into the third shift. I’ve always said that was my focus and we’re going to bring back all of our laid-off people.
“You could add the battery factory and Windsor would be a great place for you.”
In the short term, Cassidy said his priority is to make sure members qualify for EI for the shutdown period.
“We’re talking with the federal government about this to make sure our members have enough hours to qualify for EI with all[COVID-related]closures,” Cassidy said.
“We have some anxiety to deal with as a result of all these shutdowns.”
Fiorani said the thinking behind moving the Challenger/Charger out of Brampton, where it is currently produced, is to make better use of the plant.
“If they keep these models in Brampton, it will create two factories that are not fully used,” Fiorani said.
“In this day and age, using plants as fully as possible is key to profitability and hopefully keeps the stock market happy. Mixing them both on the same plant ensures a longer life for Windsor.”
Windsor Assembly currently produces Pacifica and Grand Caravan minivans. In 2021, Stellantis sold more than 111,000 minibuses.
Windsor will also continue to build the internal combustion engine and hybrid versions of its minivan lineup until the Pacifica undergoes an all-electric redesign. Fiorani said the electric version of the Pacifica is expected for 2028.
With the company planning to return to a three-shift operation in Windsor, Cassidy said the plant should produce 300,000 or more vehicles a year. Windsor Assembly hit this mark for the pickup in 2016 and during the car’s heyday, Cassidy said the factory put out at least 400,000 annually.
The Brampton plant produced more than 136,00 chargers/competitors in 2021 and appeared in danger of closing when word of the Belvedere leaked.
However, Fiorani said Brampton now has reason to be optimistic.
“It will be an electrified (Jeep) model,” Fiorani said.
“It probably will have hybrid power, but definitely an EV. Jeep is pushing for more plug-ins by the end of the decade.”
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Fiorani said AutoForecast has a good idea of the exact product lining up Brampton’s Stellantis, but isn’t ready to reveal that yet.
“The product we’re expecting to roll out there (to Brampton) is big enough to at least fit in with what was there before, if not provide more production for that plant,” Fiorani said.
“With Jeep adding variants to all of these different vehicles in its lineup, we can expect another variant to be added at some point to this plant’s capabilities.
“Adding electrified models to the Brampton, such as the Jeep brand models, gives the factory a life beyond the Charger/Challenger.”