Market Overview

FCA US CEO Celebrates Chrysler Pacifica Launch with Windsor Plant Employees


WINDSOR, Ontario, May 6, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --

  • Sergio Marchionne, joined by Unifor President and Local 444 leader, recognizes workforce's dedication and passion to build high quality products
  • Windsor plant continues 33 years of minivan production
  • 10 million of 14.3 million minivans sold built in Windsor
  • $744 million USD (over $1 billion CAD*) invested to upgrade facility with state-of-the-art technology
  • More than 1,200 hired since September 2014 to prepare for launch
  • Marchionne on first WCM silver award winner: "Windsor Assembly has established a high benchmark for all of our North American manufacturing operations"

FCA US LLC Chairman and CEO Sergio Marchionne visited the Windsor Assembly Plant (WAP) today to officially celebrate the launch of the all-new Chrysler Pacifica and to recognize the efforts of the more than 6,000 people that brought the vehicle to market. WAP continued its legacy as the home of the minivan with the start of production of the sixth generation family hauler on Feb. 29, 2016.

Joined by Unifor President Jerry Dias, Unifor Local 444 President Dino Chiodo and other FCA North American executives, Marchionne told about 2,000 day shift employees during an internal event that the Pacifica will not just redefine the minivan segment, but will also redefine the role and the future of the plant.

"Today is the right moment to ask ourselves what's next, what we want this plant to become two years from now," said Marchionne. "My vision is clear and it is based on what you have demonstrated so far: your dedication, your passion and your openness to new ideas, in order to put out the highest quality products possible."

WAP has been producing vehicles in the Ontario town for the past 88 years and is the only manufacturer still operating in the heart of the city. Many models have rolled off the line over the years, but none more well-known or recognizable than the minivan, which launched in 1983. Since then, more than 14.3 million minivans have been sold to date, of which 10 million have come through the Windsor plant.

"That [original] vehicle represented an entirely new concept and a historic game changer when it comes to family transportation," said Marchionne. "You have earned the right to be proud of the leading role you have played in making us the undisputed leader in minivans, a tradition we fully intend to maintain with the new Pacifica."

Of the $2.6 billion USD spent to develop the Pacifica, $744 million USD (over $1 billion CAD*) was allocated to the Windsor facility to add modest footprint additions to complement the Company's product quality initiatives, such as the addition of a Component, or Metrology, Center and Complete Technical Vehicle Validation (CTVV), as well as upgrade equipment and processes to produce the all-new Pacifica and the existing minivan on the same line.

More than 1,200 new, full-time permanent positons have been added at the plant since September 2014 to facilitate the production launch of the Chrysler Pacifica, bringing total employment to approximately 6,000 on three shifts.

The CEO commended the employees on the spirit, culture of respect and continuous improvement that has been cultivated throughout the plant.

"What you went through and what you were able to do to prepare to build this new minivan, especially to quickly re-establish the high quality production levels after a three-month shut-down, is an example of the spirit I am talking about," said Marchionne. "I like to consider today's event a celebration of the Pacifica production launch, as well as Day One of a new ambitious vision for the Windsor Assembly Plant." 

In March 2014, WAP was the first FCA North American facility to receive the silver designation in World Class Manufacturing (WCM), a methodology that focuses on eliminating waste, increasing productivity, and improving quality and safety in a systematic and organized way. WCM engages the workforce to provide and implement suggestions on how to improve their jobs and their plants.

"I want to express my deep appreciation for the way you have embraced World Class Manufacturing, a methodology for eliminating waste that depends on the 'hearts, heads and hands' of the people in our shops," said Marchionne. "Windsor Assembly has established a high benchmark for all of our North American manufacturing operations. It is a huge recognition of the work you have done, and the progress you have made."

Marchionne challenged the Windsor employees to achieve two goals in order to maintain the high benchmark that they have set.

"The first target is for Windsor to achieve Gold [WCM] status in 2017 and to be recognized as one of the best manufacturing facilities in the world," he said. "Secondly, our vision is for this facility's quality ranking to score in the top 25 percent according to J.D. Power.

"If you are able to achieve these goals – and I trust you are – you will simply prove to the world what you are made of and you will go a long way toward controlling your destiny and the destiny of this plant," said Marchionne.

In closing the event, Marchionne reminded the Windsor workforce that, just like they consider their plant a family, he too regards FCA like a family. He told them that the bond that links the Company together is one created by mutual respect and by a shared desire to leave a positive legacy for those who will come in the future.

"You play an indispensable part in shaping the destiny of this house and of this community. Because you don't just make cars, you make a difference," said Marchionne. "The Pacifica needs to be a vehicle that we can all be proud of, and I have great confidence in all of you, the men and women of Windsor Assembly, to continue the tradition of excellence you have already established."

*Based on currency exchange rate of 1.37% as of December 2015

FCA US LLC is a North American automaker with a new name and a long history. Headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, FCA US is a member of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (FCA) family of companies. FCA US designs, engineers, manufactures and sells vehicles under the Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram and FIAT brands, as well as the SRT performance vehicle designation. The company also distributes the Alfa Romeo 4C model and Mopar products. FCA US is building upon the historic foundations of Chrysler, the innovative American automaker first established by Walter P. Chrysler in 1925; and Fiat, founded in Italy in 1899 by pioneering entrepreneurs, including Giovanni Agnelli.

FCA, the seventh-largest automaker in the world based on total annual vehicle sales, is an international automotive group. FCA is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "FCAU" and on the Mercato Telematico Azionario under the symbol "FCA."

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