For more than three decades, the men and women working at the Windsor Assembly Plant have helped families get their kids to school, small businesses transport work equipment and teams carry their gear to games in Chrysler and Dodge minivans.
The company invented the segment in 1983, and since the first minivan rolled off the assembly line, the Windsor Assembly Plant has been its home.
After a multi-million-dollar investment, the southwest Ontario plant was renovated, retooled and expanded to build the all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica.
The production launch of the new minivan was celebrated Friday by company and union officials, including FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne and Unifor President Jerry Dias.
Marchionne commended the employees who have made FCA the “undisputed leader” in the minivan market. This is a “tradition we intend to fully maintain with the Pacifica we are launching today,” he stated.
“Seven out of every 10 minivans sold in Canada came from this plant” said Marchionne, who added that plant personnel have redefined the segment. “People underestimated the potential of this plant, it’s a phenomenal facility. It reset the standards of the so-called minivan style, globally. There is nothing like it. I think we need to make (the Pacifica) the most popular minivan in the world.”
Minivans have had quite an impact on Windsor, FCA US LLC and our customers through the years. Here are some minivan numbers:
- More than $2.6 billion has been invested in the minivan program, including $744 million USD for upgrades to the 4.4 million-square-foot Windsor Assembly Plant. The facility was shut down in early 2015 for 14 weeks to prepare for the new minivan.
- More than 10 million minivans have rolled off the Windsor assembly line.
- The Chrysler Pacifica marks the sixth generation of the minivan.
- The investment has led to the hiring of 1,200 additional new, full-time permanent positions at the plant, totaling nearly 6,000 employees on three shifts.
- The new Chrysler Pacifica has over 100 safety features and nearly 40 minivan firsts, including in-vehicle embedded games, Active Noise Cancellation in all price classes and Parallel/Perpendicular Park Assist program.
- Google Self-Driving Car Project and FCA are working to integrate Google’s self-driving technology into all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans.
During the event, Marchionne admitted that he is not a traditional minivan user, but the new Pacifica is a unique vehicle.
“This car to me is the exception. I don’t see it as a minivan,” Marchionne said. “I think it’s an incredibly cool machine.”
Watch the entire presentation on Livestream: http://livestream.com/FCALive/WindsorAssembly.