Chrysler Group has reached a tentative agreement with the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) union to add a third production shift at the automaker's Brampton, Ontario, assembly plant, to satisfy better-than-expected sales for its new Chrysler 300 sedan and Dodge Magnum wagon, according to the Detroit News newspaper. The 2006 Dodge Charger sedan also launches at the plant early next year. Chrysler spent $1.2 billion last year converting the 18-year-old Brampton plant from a front-wheel-drive sedan plant to a facility that only builds rear-wheel-drive vehicles. The plant had been building the Chrysler 300M, Chrysler Concorde, and Dodge Intrepid, and as recently as 2000 had operated with three production shifts. But the restructuring, announced in 2001, eliminated the third shift and curtailed production by one-third to around 200,000 units a year. Mary Beth Halprin, a Chrysler spokewoman, would not estimate how production would be impacted with the addition of a third shift in Brampton, but did say the new workers could join the plant soon. "Current planning direction would be to begin that third shift in the first quarter of 2005."

Originally posted on Fleet Financials