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Discussion Starter #41
Fiat Chrysler, Union Avert Canada Strike With Tentative Deal
Work stoppage threatened to ripple across the auto maker’s North American operations

Oct. 15, 2020

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and the union representing about 9,000 workers at its three Canadian factories reached a tentative agreement late Wednesday night, averting a strike that threatened to ripple across the auto maker’s North American operations.

Unifor, the Canadian union, said it would share details about the deal at a media briefing Thursday morning in Toronto. Representatives for Fiat Chrysler didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Before the Wednesday night deadline, Unifor had warned members to prepare for a strike, saying talks had bogged down on issues related to wages, health-care benefits and investment commitments at the Canadian factories.

A work stoppage would halt assembly of the company’s Pacifica and Voyager minivans, Dodge Charger and Challenger muscle cars, and a Chrysler sedan. It would also stop production of aluminum die castings for several Fiat Chrysler models, including highly profitable Jeep SUVs and Ram pickup trucks built outside of Canada.

The auto maker is pushing to improve its financial performance ahead of a planned merger with France’s PSA Group. The Italian-American auto maker needs to preserve cash to pay a dividend of $3.44 billion (reported as €2.9 billion) to its shareholders ahead of the closing of the deal early next year. That dividend was reduced last month in a cost-cutting move.

Fiat Chrysler’s cash reserves have already been dented by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic; the company stopped production at its factories in Europe and North America in the spring to curb the spread of the virus. The North American business has long contributed most of the auto maker’s earnings, and another work stoppage in the region would add to pressures on Fiat Chrysler’s bottom line.

Unifor reached a new labor deal with Ford Motor Co. last month, securing a nearly $1.5 billion investment in two plants and a commitment to build electric cars at a plant near Toronto. As is typical in pattern bargaining, Unifor used that agreement as a template for its talks with Fiat Chrysler.

Last year, Fiat Chrysler negotiated a new contract in the U.S. with the United Auto Workers that included wage increases and improved health-care benefits.


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Discussion Starter #42
FCA to Invest up to $1.5 Billion to Build EVs in Windsor


The Canadian auto industry received some needed good news yesterday when it learned that the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) Group will invest between $1.35 and $1.5 billion in its Windsor, Ontario assembly plant to build electric vehicles.

The news came as part of an interim agreement with Canadian auto workers (Unifor), announced by the union’s national president Jerry Dias on Thursday.

The auto union said FCA will invest in the development of an advanced vehicle platform that will allow for the assembly of plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles, and that at least one new model will be available by 2025.

The agreement comes less than a month after Unifor said Ford committed to investing $1.46 billion in its Oakville and Windsor plants.

Said Jerry Dias, “Not only is Fiat-Chrysler maintaining the current portfolio but they will be investing three derivatives to enhance the current portfolio.”

The Unifor boss added that the union expects FCA to extend the life of the Chrysler 300, as well as introduce a number of Dodge Charger and Challenger variants.

The union says up to 2,000 jobs will be added to the Windsor plant by 2024.

On Thursday, Market forecasting firm LMC Automotive predicted that, in the wake of the ongoing pandemic, U.S. vehicle sales won’t recover to the levels of 2019 (when they amounted to 17 million units sold) until 2024.

Meetings to ratify the agreement between the union and the FCA group will be held over the weekend and members will vote on accepting or rejecting it on Sunday.

Unifor is then expected to begin negotiations with General Motors' Canadian division next week.


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Discussion Starter #43
Unifor workers overwhelmingly ratify new FCA contract

Oct 19, 2020

Unifor workers at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CA Canada voted 78 per cent in favour of ratifying a new contract paving the way for what union and automotive officials predict will be a bold step into the industry’s electrification generation.

The 8,400 workers voted online beginning Sunday morning with the results being released Monday.

“It’s been a roller-coaster ride of emotions these past few months, losing the third shift,” said Unifor Local 444 president Dave Cassidy.

“We won’t flip a switch and everyone comes back to work. But there’s a future for them and the Windsor Assembly Plant.”

This is great news for Windsor Essex and our entire region
Production workers at the Windsor Assembly plant, which will receive $1.3-$1.5-billion in new investment, voted 86 per cent in favour of the deal while 89 per cent of the skilled trades voted in favour.

Pending an agreement for government funding for Windsor Assembly, FCA Canada will make the plant the first known facility capable of producing internal combustion, hybrid and battery electric vehicles under the same roof in North America.

The flexible assembly lines will allow for products ranging from small cars to SUVs to medium-sized pickup trucks.

FCA’s Brampton plant will also get a $50-million investment to produce three new versions of the Challenger and Charger and continue to produce the Chrysler 300.

The Etobicoke Casting plant will also get $14 million to produce two new products.

“FCA has maintained a strong footprint in Canada for nearly a century,” Mark Stewart, chief operating officer for FCA North America, said in a statement.

“Over the last decade, we have invested over $4 billion in our Canadian manufacturing facilities, more than any other OEM in the country and it is our intention to maintain this leadership.

“This agreement bolsters our global competitiveness and positions us for future growth with new product investment and new jobs, while also demonstrating our commitment to our employees, their families and the communities we represent.”

The company also confirmed its intention to add 2,000 new jobs in the next three years with the return of a third shift at Windsor Assembly.

“This puts Windsor at the centre of the next generation of Canadian mobility,” Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association president Flavio Volpe said.

“It’s been a helluva of a month to be in the automotive business in Ontario and there is no place where that’s more prevalent than Windsor Essex.”

Cassidy said retooling of the Windsor plant would begin during the lifetime of the new three-year deal. A battery electric vehicle will be produced for the 2025 model year.

Cassidy dismissed concerns that the provincial and federal governments might not find the money to close the deal with FCA Canada or that the company might have a change of heart prior to the next round of negotiations.

“We have a binding agreement and I know what the position of the governments are,” Cassidy said.

“I talked with Premier Ford last week and he told me he has our back on this. Minister (Navdeep) Bains (Ministry of Innovation, Science and Industry) also has said he has our back.

“I know the government funding will be there.”

Cassidy said no figures have been bandied about publically, but he expects it to be similar to the $590 million the province and feds will be giving to the Ford Motor Company for the electrification of its Oakville Assembly complex.

Volpe also dismissed concerns about the solidity of FCA’s commitments to the investments.

“You don’t put your tires out there in public to be punctured,” Volpe said. “We are way past that point of concern.”


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Discussion Starter #44
New Unifor-FCA Collective Bargaining Agreement Strengthens Commitment to Canadian Operations With Investment and Jobs
  • New agreement includes up to CAD $1.58 billion in total investments and creates 2,000 new jobs
  • Windsor to be retooled to produce electrified vehicles
  • Brampton and Etobicoke to receive investment for new products
  • Agreement firmly establishes FCA as the leading automobile employer in Canada

October 19, 2020 , Windsor, Ontario - FCA Canada confirmed today that its Unifor-represented workforce has ratified a new three-year agreement that builds on the Company’s commitment to grow its Canadian manufacturing operations by providing total investments of up to $1.58 billion and creating 2,000 new jobs.

“FCA has maintained a strong footprint in Canada for nearly a century. Over the last decade, we have invested over $4 billion in our Canadian manufacturing facilities, more than any other OEM in the country and it is our intention to maintain this leadership,” said Mark Stewart, Chief Operating Officer, FCA North America. “This agreement bolsters our global competitiveness and positions us for future growth with new product investment and new jobs, while also demonstrating our commitment to our employees, their families and the communities we represent.”

Working in collaboration with Unifor, as well as both the Federal and Provincial governments, the Company has committed to install a new multi-energy vehicle architecture, including Plug-In Hybrid Electric (PHEV) and Battery Electric (BEV) vehicle capability, and at least one new model on that architecture at its Windsor Assembly Plant. The value of this investment ranges from $1.35 billion to $1.50 billion.

Additional investments include $50 million for Brampton Assembly, which will introduce three new variants of the popular Dodge Charger and Dodge Challenger muscle cars, in addition to continuing production of the Chrysler 300. The Etobicoke Casting Plant will receive two new products with an investment of $14.4 million, which includes a workforce increase of 22 percent. FCA’s transport operation (FCAT) also will receive $14.3 million in equipment upgrades.

The new agreement follows the previously established pattern on economics and benefits.

FCA Canada continues to employ more people and build more vehicles than any of the domestic three automakers. The new agreement covers more than 8,400 Unifor-represented manufacturing employees across the country.

FCA Canada
Founded as the Chrysler Corporation in 1925, FCA Canada Inc. is based in Windsor, Ontario, and celebrates its 95th anniversary in 2020. FCA Canada is a wholly owned subsidiary of FCA, a North American automaker based in Auburn Hills, Michigan and member of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (FCA) family of companies. FCA Canada has approximately 440 dealers that sell Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep®, Ram, FIAT and Alfa Romeo products, as well as SRT performance products. The company also distributes Mopar and Alfa Romeo parts and accessories. In addition to its assembly facilities, which produce the Chrysler Pacifica, Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, Chrysler Voyager and Chrysler Grand Caravan (Windsor) and Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger and Dodge Challenger (Brampton), FCA Canada operates an aluminum casting plant in Etobicoke, a research and development centre in Windsor, and has sales offices and parts distribution centers throughout the country.

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Discussion Starter #45
Canada: Fiat Chrysler Expanding Online Shopping Options To Include Used Cars


Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is expanding its online shopping system in the coming months to allow dealers to list their used cars and "certified pre-owned" vehicles on FCA's E-Shop.

That expansion, which by December will also include test drive scheduling, online chats and refundable vehicle reservations in connection with a PayPal account, is part of the company's push to improve its online vehicle retailing, an area that has been growing in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Early next year, Mopar accessory shopping will also be added.

FCA, in a news release, said online shopping traffic across its dealer network is up more than 65% since the launch of its online service now known as E-Shop earlier this year.

"Six months ago, we pulled ahead of the launch of E-Shop to help our dealers who were attempting to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic," FCA U.S. Head of Sales Jeff Kommor said in the release. "Little did we know what a powerful tool E-Shop would become. About 45% of FCA's monthly sales originated from an Internet lead. Last year it was about 25%. Consumers say E-Shop gives them more transparency while dealers say the entire process—including home delivery—allows them to create a strong bond with the shopper."

Customers can complete an entire vehicle purchase through E-Shop, including e-signing paperwork and scheduling home delivery. It's available through FCA brand websites—Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Fiat and Alfa Romeo—as well as participating dealer sites and social media applications, FCA said in the release.

"We had always envisioned E-Shop as a digital backbone onto which we could bolt new and cutting-edge elements that put the customer first. Ecommerce continues to be an integral tool in our marketing suite, providing audiences the ability to experience and shop our brands from the comfort of their homes. We're only getting started," Marissa Hunter, head of marketing for FCA North America, said in the release.


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Discussion Starter #46
Another Shutdown Coming for Windsor Assembly Plant

Windsor Assembly Plant will have an additional shut down next month.
According to a tweet from Unifor Local 444 announced production has been cancelled from Nov. 2 to Nov. 9. — workers are already coming off a shut down from Sept. 28 to Oct. 16
There are roughly 4,500 workers at the Windsor Assembly Plant since the facility moved to a two-shift operation in July.
The layoff comes just weeks after the ratification of a new three-year deal with Fiat Chrysler Canada that promised a new product line in the plant by 2024.


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Discussion Starter #47
Jeep Could Lose $100 Million Because Of Canadian Supplier

FCA sues over breach of contract.


Automakers rely on a vast chain of supplier networks in order to keep production running on schedule. Any sort of disruption may not only stem the flow of new vehicles but also cause millions of dollars of lost revenue. The pandemic's effect on suppliers is just one example, though there was no one to blame. That's not always the case. The Detroit News reports Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has sued Canadian engine block supplier Martinrea International Inc. in US federal court because it allegedly "improperly and unilaterally" reallocated one of its engine-block manufacturing machines in Mexico to another customer.

That machine is needed to build the engine blocks for the hot-selling Jeep Wrangler, Ram 1500, and Chrysler Pacifica, among others. The supplier signed a contract with FCA to build 13,021 engine blocks for the Pentastar V6 weekly at its facility in Queretaro, Mexico.

Now that's been allocated for use elsewhere, Martinrea can only promise FCA 6,247 blocks every week. "The insufficient supply will inevitably require FCA US to shut down production of six top-selling vehicle platforms in at least six of its plants," the lawsuit states. "Each hour Martinrea fails to meet fully FCA US's releases is already resulting in monetary damages to FCA US of thousands of dollars, plus other incidental and consequential damages. And this amount could continue to climb to hundreds of thousands of dollars per hour."
All told, FCA says it can potentially lose over $100 million because of the shortage.

Martinrea, however, blames the automaker for its own problems, claiming FCA began insourcing around a third of casting production from a plant in Indiana. In addition, it says the automaker didn't provide sufficient tooling.

"Martinrea was disappointed that FCA chose to in-source a significant portion of the casting production but, Martinrea relied on, and reallocated, the open casting production capacity created by FCA's decision," the supplier said. "FCA is now suddenly demanding that Martinrea produce 13,000 parts per week - for a period of time - a weekly volume that FCA has never come close to demanding for many years."

Fortunately, FCA dealerships are not lacking inventory and, so far, there are no known production issues. Fingers crossed it stays that way.

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