Fiat Chrysler's Windsor minivan plant will be idled for five weeks for retooling beginning next month.
The 2017 Dodge Grand Caravan doesn't meet US side impact airbag rule changes that came into effect September 1st. Those are the same changes that FCA said caused the death of the Viper. The new standard makes the airbags larger to better cover the side windows. They are also more robust so they stay inflated longer.
Fiat Chrysler didn't expect the Grand Caravan to live past the 2018 rule change, so they didn't modify the van to fit them. But then sales continued and now it's time for the vans to get the change for the 2018 model year.
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That means a shutdown for the Windsor Assembly Plant while they retool for the changes. Unifor Local 444 told Automotive News that the shutdown would last for five weeks, beginning October 2nd, but that the start date can change up until September 27th. It's the second recent stoppage at the plant, which saw heavy rains cause a multi-day shutdown at the end of August.
The airbag change applies only to US bound Grand Caravans, and not the newer Pacifica, although it appears that production of both will be stopped temporarily. The Pacifica is the more popular van in the US, while the Grand Caravan continues to outpace its younger sibling's sales in Canada.