Windsor Assembly Plant workers got a glimpse of what’s expected to happen in their future Wednesday when the body of the new Dodge Charger was inside the facility’s metal shop.
While Stellantis has not publicly confirmed any product placements, Sam Fiorani, vice president of global vehicle forecasting for AutoForecast Solutions, said the Charger/Challenger and Airflow Concept are all expected to be added to the product mix at Windsor.
The plant will also continue production of the Pacifica minivan range.
“Right now we have minivans, Charger/Challenger and the Chrysler Airflow Concept in that factory,” said Fiorani.
You add the battery factory and Windsor becomes a great place to be
“They’ve changed a few things over the past two years. We originally reserved this one (Charger/Challenger) for Belvidere (Illinois), but it makes a lot more sense to be with the minivan because they’ll eventually have a platform (STLA big) parts.
“It would fill Windsor much better than having it as a minibus factory.”
The company is currently working with stores on the tools needed to build the new battery electric version of the muscle vehicles.
The Airflow Concept vehicle, which is yet to be completed, is expected to be ready in 2025.
“Think of it as a mid-sized crossover to fill a gap in the Chrysler lineup,” said Fiorani. “Airflow is a 100 percent Chrysler model.”
Fiorani said that according to the most recent updates received this week, the Challenger will enter production in June 2024 and the Charger in September.
It would mark the second production of the Charger at Windsor Assembly after an earlier 1975-1978 period. It is the first time since 1983 that cars roll off the production line at the factory.
Fiorani confirmed that Windsor Assembly will be shut down for refurbishment from June to the end of August.
“I feel so optimistic right now,” Cassidy said of the factory’s future with the expected variety of products.
“I’m even more excited about getting the third squad back. I always said that was my focus and that we would get all our fired people back.
“You add the battery factory and Windsor becomes a great place to be.”
In the short term, Cassidy said his priority is to make sure members are eligible for EI before the closing period.
“We are talking to the federal government about that to ensure our members have enough hours to qualify for EI with all the shutdowns due to parts shortages (related to COVID),” Cassidy said.
“As a result of all these closures, we have some anxiety to deal with.”
Fiorani said the rationale behind relocating Challenger/Charger from Brampton, where it is currently produced, is to make better use of the plant.
“Keeping these models in Brampton would create two factories that are not fully utilized,” Fiorani said.
“In this day and age, getting the most out of plants is the key to profitability and hopefully we’ll keep the stock market happy. Blending them both in the same factory will ensure a longer life for Windsor.”
Windsor Assembly currently produces the Pacifica and Grand Caravan minivans. In 2021, Stellantis sold more than 111,000 minivans.
Windsor will also continue to build internal combustion engines and hybrid versions of its minivan range until Pacifica undergoes a redesign to go all-electric. Fiorani said the electric version of the Pacifica is expected for the 2028 model year.
With the company planning to return to a three-shift operation in Windsor, Cassidy said the plant should produce 300,000 or more vehicles annually. Windsor Assembly reached that figure for the minivan in 2016, and during the vehicle’s heyday, Cassidy said the plant produced at least 400,000 annually.
The Brampton plant produced more than 136.00 Chargers/Challengers in 2021 and appeared to be closing when the message from the Belvedere movement was leaked.
However, Fiorani said Brampton now has cause for optimism.
“It will be an electrified model (Jeep),” said Fiorani.
“It will probably have hybrid power, but definitely an EV variant. Jeep aims to have more plugins by the end of the decade.”
Chrysler CEO says minivan, Windsor Assembly has a long future
Stellantis Announces Production Plans for Windsor Assembly Plant
Fiorani said AutoForecast has a good idea of the exact product Stellantis is lining up for Brampton, but isn’t quite ready to reveal it yet.
“The product that we expect to go in there (to Brampton) is high enough to at least match what was in there before, if not give more output to that factory,” Fiorani said.
“With Jeep adding variants to all these different vehicles they have in their lineup, we can foresee that at some point another variant will be added that will expand the potential of that plant.
“Adding electrified models to Brampton, such as Jeep brand models, gives the factory a life outside of Charger/Challenger.”