Production at Chrysler’s minivan assembly plant in Ontario stopped by workers’ strike

Article by Christian A., on May 2, 2012

A workers’ strike at the Chrysler Group’s minivan assembly plant in Ontario, Canada had forced a shutdown in production. A warning was issued by Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne to these workers, saying that he thinks that the next round of talks would be “very difficult.” The strike came after the automaker rejected a proposed contract agreement last Sunday.

Those who joined the strike are around 190 Dakkota Integrated Systems employees who are represented by Canadian Auto Workers Local 444. Dakkota makes instrument panels for the Windsor Assembly Plant's Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans.

Marchionne asserted that this isn’t the right way to build a car company. The national pact between Chrysler and the CAW is set to expire this September. Chrysler doesn’t have a no-strike deal with the CAW.

Because of Chrysler’s bankruptcy in 2009, the UAW in the U.S. accepted a no-strike clause through 2015. Minivan supplies are already low but they will be hurt further by a lengthy closure of the factory.

Through March of this year, Chrysler has reported that its sales increased by 39% in the U.S. after getting a 26% boost in 2011. Chrysler has also surpassed Ford Motor Co. and General Motors in Canadian sales. Dakkota is a joint venture between Rush Group and Intier Automotive Interiors, a subsidiary of Magna International Inc. Dakkota also released a statement to say that it was dismayed by the union’s decision to force a strike.

Chrysler invented the minivan and now modernised the segment with the 2013 Town & Country S. Premiering at the 2012 Los Angeles International Auto Show, the Town & Country S is Chrysler’s newest S model, adding to the 200 sedan and convertible and 300 sedan. The Town & Country S has enhanced exteriors and interiors and certain standard equipment normally found in top-end models.

The 2013 Town & Country S can come in Brilliant Black, Stone White, Deep Cherry Red, or Billet Silver, along with a modified trim contrasting with the minivan's traditionally bright outside. A black chrome grille combines with the Chrysler winged badges with black background in the front and rear, S-model badges, a black rear fascia step pad, 17-inch aluminium wheels with polished face and black pockets, and blacked-out headlamp bezels (not immediately available).

The Town & Country S’s interior boasts a Chrysler-signature monotone black interior. Black Torino leather seats have an embroidered "S" in the backs and black ballistic cloth seat inserts. There is also grey stitching on the seats and the armrests in the doors. Piano black gloss appliques are found along the instrument panel and the black leather-wrapped steering wheel’s spokes. The wheel’s Chrysler winged badge matches the exterior badge’s black background. The interior is finished with touches of black instrument panel and centre and upper consoles, and instrument cluster with an "S" logo.

Exclusive to minivans, a dual-screen Blu-Ray DVD system with HDMI input, 12v outlet and two-pronged 115v outlets, and two USB recharging ports are standard. New for the 2013 series, rear seat passengers can now watch standard and Blu-Ray DVDs or play high-def video games on these new and higher definition screens. Wireless headphones also let those in the back seat enjoy this advanced system without disturbing those in the front.

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