DETROIT -- Chrysler Group has slowed production at its minivan plant in Windsor, Ontario, this week.
The plant's three shifts will work four-hour shifts instead of eight-hour shifts for at least the next week making the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans.
The slowdown was reported on the Chrysler-centric site Allpar.com and the Windsor Star newspaper. Through last Thursday, Windsor Assembly had not made any Volkswagen Routan minivans so far this year, according to production data released by Chrysler.
Chrysler spokeswoman Jodi Tinson said normal production will return on March 18. She said that the slowdown was intended "to align production with market demand."
Combined sales of both minivans fell 15 percent through the first two months of the year, though most of the loss is attributable to a 26 percent drop in sales of the Grand Caravan. Sales of the Town & Country were down 1 percent through the first two months.
On March 1, Chrysler had unsold inventory of 24,713 Chrysler Town & Countrys, a 69-day supply, and 18,547 unsold Grand Caravans, a 43-day supply, according to the Automotive News data center.
Asked about the inventory levels, Tinson said that the action to slow production was because of demand and not because the company was having difficulty making enough 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engines.
The minivans' 3.6-liter engine also is used in several of Chrysler's highest volume vehicles, including the Ram 1500, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Wrangler, Chrysler 200 and 300.
"We also look at anticipated future demand and make adjustments accordingly. No sense running full speed now, then have a lot of vehicles sitting around a few months down the line," Tinson said. "We believe we have satisfactory inventory to meet current demand and, therefore, have decided to reduce hours in order to ensure a balance."