FCA’s restart plans take shape

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DETROIT — Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ plan to resume North America production begins with its Mexico van plant on April 20 before a progressive restart of U.S. and Canadian facilities on May 4 and May 18, the company told suppliers during a webinar on Wednesday.

The automaker also said several key products would be delayed as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, including the Jeep Grand Wagoneer and next-generation Grand Cherokee. The automaker estimates that each of those models, expected to arrive in 2021, will face three-month delays.

Fiat Chrysler’s U.S. operations have struggled significantly with the coronavirus pandemic — at least 15 hourly workers who have been linked to the disease have died, according to the UAW.

Company executives said plants will begin with one-shift patterns. Marlo Vitous, FCA’s head of North America supply chain planning and global inter-regional flow, said during the supplier presentation that the company will only restart operations with “safe, secure and sanitized” workplaces that “protect all of our employees and you.”

Ram Promaster production in Saltillo, Mexico, is slated to begin on Monday. Output at the Saltillo Truck Assembly plant that builds the Ram 1500 Classic and heavy duty models could follow on April 27.

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Saurabh Shukla

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