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FCA Changes Windsor Plant Shut Down Due to Mexico Strikes

Supplier strikes along Mexico-U.S. border causing parts shortage.

by on Feb.15, 2019

Fiat Chrysler's Windsor, Ontario, plant that builds the company's minivans will be shut down a week earlier than expected due to a parts shortage.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. is shutdown the company’s minivan plant in Windsor, Ontario, the week of Feb. 18, due to a parts shortage created by a problem with what was described as an “external” supplier.

“FCA is re-timing the down week at the Windsor Assembly Plant from the week of Feb. 25 to the week of Feb. 18. Normal production schedules are expected to resume the week of Feb. 25,” FCA Canada spokeswoman Lou Ann Gosselin told the trade publication Automotive News.

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The upcoming shutdown will be the third temporary closure of 2019. The plant did not operate the first two weeks of January to adjust inventories, the company said at the time.

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.

A series of wildcat strikes in Mexico threatens the U.S. auto industry. (Credit: AquiMatamoros)

(Mexican strikers taking aim at automotive supplier plants. Click Here for the story.)

Running at full volume, the plant produces nearly 1,500 minivans per day, but inventories of unsold minivan have been climbing of late, according to figures compiled by Automotive News.

However, the shutdown of the Windsor plant comes on the heels of a wave of strikes that have swept through so-called maquiladora plants in northern Mexico. The maquiladora plants are located close to the U.S.-Mexican border in cities such Matamoros, Ciudad Juarez and Reynosa. The walkouts have been described by observers as the largest strikes in the industrial belt in Northern Mexico in more than 30 years.

(Click Here to see how a shifting market, declining sales forced Nissan to cut production in Mexico.)

The U.S.-Mexican Chamber of Commerce in Los Angeles has reported the labor disruption caused by the more than 50 strikes of foreign-controlled industrial plants in Matamoros, on the other side of the border from Brownsville, Texas, has impacted the Mexican border region, and is contributing to unrest in Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez.

Strikes by workers at suppliers in Mexico are now impacting at least one U.S. automaker.

At least five employers have announced they are planning leave Mexico because of the unrest, the Chamber said.

Several of the plants targeted in the wave of labor unrest, which began last month, are operated by automotive suppliers such Inteva, Aptiva and Autoliv, observers said. Some of the walkouts have been settled with workers, who make as little as $6 per day, winning a 20% pay increase and a $1,700 bonus.

(To see more about FCA reassessing plans to move Ram HD trucks out of Mexico, Click Here.)

Virtually every automaker operating the North America depends on components sourced in Mexico. Joe Hinrichs, Ford Motor Co. president of Global Operations, said last week the automaker was continuing to monitor the situation closely but had not experienced any shortages of parts yet. A spokesman for General Motors also has said GM is continuing to monitor the situation.

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