Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Chrysler cutting 1,825 jobs with moves at 2 plants

TOM KRISHER | DETROIT — Chrysler LLC will cut 1,825 jobs by eliminating one shift at a Toledo Jeep plant and accelerating the closure of its sport utility vehicle factory in Newark, Del., because of the slowing global economy and a shift toward smaller vehicles.

About 825 workers at the Toledo North Assembly Plant will be laid off indefinitely as of Dec. 31. The Newark closure also will be effective at the end of the year and affect about 1,000 jobs, the company said Thursday in a news release.

The cuts are about 6 percent of Chrysler's U.S. hourly work force of 33,000.

The Toledo factory makes the Dodge Nitro and Jeep Liberty. Both have been selling slowly this year due to high gas prices and a slowing U.S. economy.

The Newark plant makes the slow-selling Dodge Durango and Chrysler Aspen sport utility vehicles. It originally was expected to close at the end of 2009. By closing the plant earlier, Chrysler apparently is getting out of the large SUV business.

Auburn Hills, Mich.-based Chrysler said in a statement that the changes will adjust inventory to better match consumer demand.

"The markets are facing unprecedented turmoil and we are in a time of historic change in the auto industry," Frank Ewasyshyn, Chrysler's executive vice president of manufacturing, said. "These tough, but necessary steps are vital to our long-term viability."

The company said it would work with the United Auto Workers union to handle the layoffs in a "socially responsible manner."

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