Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has just announced the long-expected demise of the Dodge Grand Caravan. As production of the van winds down, FCA will also be phasing out the third shift at the Windsor, ON, plant that builds the vans, meaning 1,500 layoffs at the plant.
Yesterday, FCA notified Unifor, the union that represents the Windsor Assembly Plant's more than 5,000 hourly workers, of the planned return to a two-shift operation. The change happens June 29 and will mean the layoff of approximately 1,500 hourly workers, an FCA spokesperson said in an emailed statement.
The decision, the statement says, "comes as the Company works to align volumes with demand." FCA is also phasing out production of the Dodge Grand Caravan, a move set to happen at the end of May. FCA said that "The Company will make every effort to place indefinitely laid-off hourly employees in open full-time positions as they become available," and will offer retirement packages to eligible employees.
This version of the Dodge Grand Caravan was launched back in 2008, though it was revised in 2011. The van was originally set to end in 2016 when the all-new Chrysler Pacifica was launched, though continued high demand led to the van's continuation. Grand Caravan sold just under 47,000 units in 2017 in Canada, but the figure dropped to 32,000 and just under 28,000 in the last two years.
The Grand Caravan will be replaced by the Chrysler Voyager, an entry-level version of the Chrysler Pacifica van. The Pacifica, also built in Windsor, is getting a complete refresh for 2021 that includes new styling, a new interior, and the addition of all-wheel drive.