Chrysler Canada has increased production at its minivan assembly plant in Windsor, Ont., according to a workers union representative.
Beginning Monday, workers at the plant began building 1,500 Dodge Grand Caravans and Chrysler Town and County minivans a day, 200 more than usual, CAW Local 444 vice-president Dino Chiodo told CBC News. The assembly plant employs 4,600 people to cover three eight-hour shifts.
"Minivans sales are doing great right now," Chiodo said.
'We are very firm in our intention to not build vehicles unless there is demand.'—Max Gates, Chrysler spokesman
"We know that people are looking for that vehicle," Chiodo said. "We're hopeful that we're going to continue running at this production level well into the future, so that's our goal, and that's what we're looking forward to doing with Chrysler Corporation, and that's what we're going to continue pushing."
Sales of Chrysler minivans in Canada increased 21 per cent in October over October 2008, according to the automaker's latest sales report.
Plant to close over Christmas
But the plant will also close the three days before Christmas and the first two weeks of January.
Chrysler spokesman Max Gates said some plants would experience extra downtime, but would not say which ones or for how long.
"We are very firm in our intention to not build vehicles unless there is demand for those vehicles," Gates said. "We're going to be very rigorous in matching up our production with demand for vehicles."
He added that it also gives the company an opportunity for maintenance work.
The plant in Brampton, where 2,800 people work, will close the first two weeks of January.
CAW Local 1285 president Leon Rideout said after hearing reports the Brampton plant would see additional downtime, he called the company. Chrysler officials told him it would not close before Christmas and the two extra down weeks in January are for scheduled upgrades and retooling.