Windsor Assembly may bring Muscle cars and SUVs into the fold: Auto analyst

An auto analyst specializing in vehicle forecasting expects the Dodge Challenger and Charger, along with the new Chrysler Airflow will be built at the Windsor Assembly Plant.

“The Windsor Assembly Plant will be transformed to support battery-electric vehicle capability for multiple models — built on the New STLA Large platform,” Stellantis officials previously announced this past June.

“The plant will have maximum flexibility to adjust production volumes as needed to meet changing market demand over the next decade,” reads the media release from the company.

“There has been a lot of speculation, and while we’re not prepared to discuss any product details today, we’re happy to confirm that Windsor will produce vehicles on our new STLA Large platform,” said Mark Stewart, Stellantis North America COO . “These announcements represent key pieces of our Dare Forward strategy to provide safe, clean and affordable mobility solutions for our customers long into the future.”

Auto analyst Sam Fiorani, who is the vice president of global vehicle forecasting at AutoForecast Solutions LLC, says the STLA Large platforms are dynamic and allow for fully electrified power trains, or hybridized power trains, making the line more flexible for different products.

He notes the addition of the Charger, Challenger and Airflow would make perfect sense to bring Windsor’s plant to a three-shift operation because the facility has the capacity to produce around 400,000 vehicles annually.

“150,000 minivans each year just isn’t utilizing that plant properly,” Fiorani said. “Adding in 100,000 or 150,000 Airflows and Chargers and Challengers? Now we’ve got a plant that is profitable.”

Fiorani predicts the new product will provide stability for the plant, which has been running minivans along the line since 1983.

“This is the best shape that the Windsor plant has been in, in many, many years and we look forward to production lasting at least through the end of this decade,” said Fiorani.

“People speculate a lot of things,” said Unifor Local 444 president Dave Cassidy. “I know that we are going to be the only facility in the world, I believe, that will have the internal combustion engine, the PHEV (hybrid) and the battery electric running down the same production line.”

Cassidy said he’ll wait for the automaker to make it official, but notes the $3.6 billion dollar investment by Stellantis into re-tooling the Windsor and Brampton assembly plants will help secure an electric future at both facilities.

“You just can’t put all your eggs in one basket, you know, we got to make sure we can diversify in that plant so that we can have all different types of vehicles,” said Cassidy. “Bring us anything. Bring us a truck, bring us a car, bring us an SUV: we will build it because you know what I always say, if you want to build right you build it here in Windsor.”

“Do we know we’re coming to three shifts? Absolutely,” Cassidy said. “That’s what we focus on.”

Retooling is expected to begin in June of 2023, with the shutdown will last for nine weeks.

Cassidy said workers will need to put in enough hours between now and next June and if that’s the case, they should qualify for full EI benefits.

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