Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne speaks to media at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, January 15, 2018. Photo by Mark Brown/Blackburn News.

Fiat-Chrysler Chief Says Windsor Is Key

The CEO of Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles says Windsor remains a big part of the automaker’s plan.

Sergio Marchionne discussed a variety of topics with reporters during a media event on Monday at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Much of the conversation focused on the production of vehicles within a 100-mile radius of Detroit, as well as how Windsor and Canada play into their operations.

Production of the Pacifica at the Windsor Assembly Plant is key to Fiat-Chrysler, says Marchionne. Not only that, the company is looking forward to when one of their longest-running models will have to be retired.

“What we have in store for Windsor is, for sure, a replacement for the [Dodge Grand] Caravan which for technical reasons needs to come out of production in the next two and a half years, three years,” says Marchionne.

Marchionne says, however, that he does not envision a completely different model coming out of Windsor.

“The replacement of the Caravan will be a Caravan-like vehicle,” says Marchionne. “The Caravan needs to continue, it needs a new life. I need another minivan to be in line with the Pacifica architecture, and it will continue in the minivan segment. It has to be.”

Windsor Assembly has been running on all three shifts for some time now, and the recent upgrades to the plant to handle Pacifica production have created a base for other models in the years to come. Marchionne says policies like NAFTA help make that arrangement possible.

With NAFTA renegotiations taking place there has been concern over┬áthe potential impact on the auto industry. Marchionne did not comment on the negotiations, but having lived for many years in Canada and attending the University of Windsor, he says he can’t envision the auto industry without NAFTA.

“I was living in Canada at the time so I was the indirect beneficiary or the victim of NAFTA at the time, I’m not sure what was the case,” quips Marchionne. “But it’s now been an established practice in U.S.-Canadian relationships, and I don’t know what a world without NAFTA looks like.”