Many industry observers now see a strike by Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) union members at Chrysler Canada as inevitable.

However, a walkout would have little immediate impact on the vehicle maker, according to the Detroit News.

Citing analysts, the newspaper said that Chrysler has enough Canadian-built vehicles in stock to supply buyers for several weeks.

The Detroit News reported that the CAW has already said that Chrysler’s Canadian factories are not running at full capacity and are already scheduled to shut down for as long as five weeks before the end of the year.

The CAW has set a strike deadline of midnight tonight and talks are stalled over job security issues, mostly to do with the scheduled July shut-down of the Pillette Road Dodge Ram plant in Windsor, Ontario.

The Detroit News said Chrysler could also probably cope with a short shutdown of a parts plant in Etobicoke, Ontario, near Toronto, but added that it was not clear how long before a shortage of engine and transmission parts from there would halt production at other Chrysler plants in the United States and Mexico.

“That’s the pressure point,” a labour economist told the newspaper, adding: “It’s up to Chrysler whether they will allow it to go down for a few days or a week or not.”

A Chrysler spokeswoman declined to comment to the Detroit News on the situation at Etobicoke.

The Detroit News said talks between the CAW and Chrysler made some progress yesterday.

CAW president Basil “Buzz” Hargrove told the newspaper that Chrysler matched General Motors and Ford with an ‘economic’ offer that included a 13.5% increase in wages over three years and more holiday time.

That still leaves the Pillette Road closure and factory work rule issues to be agreed before the strike deadline tonight, the Detroit News added.