Chrysler halts minivan production in Windsor due to supplier shortages
Much like the current Ford work stoppage at the Dearborn Truck Plant, the actual parts or suppliers responsible for the lack of parts have not been specified but as of Monday morning, roughly 4,500 workers at the Windsor Assembly Plant will have a week off along with another 5,500 at support facilities. Across Chrysler’s entire network of production facilities, the Windsor Minivan Plant is the only one working three shifts as the demand for the industry-leading minivan continues to grow.
The flip side to the popularity of the 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country is that with the rapid growth of the auto industry as a whole, suppliers are not able to keep up with the demand. Many consumers do not know this, but a great many more parts are shared across the industry than most people would guess and there are far fewer supplies than you would think. When the industry took a nose dive in 2008-2009, those suppliers were forced to cut back just like the automakers but when things began to boom this year in auto sales – those same suppliers have been failing to recover and provide for the growth of the industry.
Chrysler expects sales of their popular minivans to continue to grow, with 50-60 thousand more units sold in 2011 than 2010 but if industry suppliers continue to cause down time like this and the Ford stoppage currently underway, these automakers could lose business to those who are able to keep putting vehicles on dealership lots. Hopefully this series of work stoppages is a wake-up call to the suppliers of the auto industry and they scramble to increase their output and not slow down the progress of the industry as a whole. Being “so busy that you can’t keep cars on the lot” is a good thing so long as the companies are able to bounce back and meet the demand.