Because of a parts shortage, Chrysler Group will shut down its Windsor Assembly Plant in Ontario next week starting Monday, according to a company spokeswoman. This plant builds the Dodge Grand Caravan, Chrysler Town & Country, and Volkswagen Routan minivans.
Rick Laporte, president of Canadian Auto Workers Local 444, said that the shutdown will affect about 4,400 workers on three shifts aside from the 5,000 workers at feeder plants.
He said that Windsor plant employees are expected to get 65% of their normal pay during the closure; however, the other workers will be relying on unemployment benefits from the Canadian government. Laporte explained the plant’s closure is due to the shortages of several parts or raw materials.
Laporte and another plant employee disclosed that aluminum materials, which are used in minivan hoods, were lacking. These materials come from a Chinese supplier. Laporte said that this problem with this supplier has been going on for about six months.
It isn’t only Chrysler that has been having these shortages. In recent weeks, Ford Motor Co. and Volkswagen AG also had to idle North American and European assembly plants because of parts shortages.
Laporte said that last week, Chrysler first talked to the union and informed them that one shift of workers may be laid off but the carmaker decided later to close down all shifts for a week.
Laporte said that this is the first time that there had been layoffs in January in about 8 years. Typically, demand from dealers guarantee that production is boosted in January. [via autonews - sub. required]