Chrysler LLC has just announced two measures to help the privately-owned automaker scale back production to meet lower demand in the marketplace. The first is to move up the closure of its Newark Assembly Plant, which builds the Dodge Durango and Chrysler Aspen, from late 2009 to December 31, 2008. The second is to eliminate one of two shifts at the Toledo North Assembly plant that builds the Dodge Nitro and Jeep Liberty, also effective December 31. Chrysler says the Newark plant employs 1,000 workers, while 825 will be affected by the shift reduction in Toledo. According to The Detroit News, those 1,825 workers out of a job represent about 6% of Chrysler's hourly-workforce. These moves will also likely spell the end for the Durango and Aspen SUVs, as Newark is the only plant producing them and has been scaled back to one shift since July 2006.

[Source: Chrysler, The Detroit News, Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty]


PRESS RELEASE

In response to the continuing global economic slowdown and auto industry contraction, as well as the market's continuing movement toward smaller vehicles, Chrysler LLC is announcing the elimination of one shift of production at its Toledo (Ohio) North Assembly Plant and the pull-ahead of the closure of the Newark (Delaware) Assembly Plant. The schedule change 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," said Frank Ewasyshyn, Executive Vice President – Manufacturing, Chrysler LLC. "These tough, but necessary steps are vital to our long-term viability. However, these headwinds will not prevent Chrysler from aggressively pursuing its mission to respond to consumers with products they demand, like the all-new Dodge Ram, which was recently named 'Full-Size Pickup Truck of Texas'."

The shift reduction at Toledo North will be effective December 31, 2008, and will affect approximately 825 jobs. The closure of the Newark plant will also be effective December 31, 2008, and will affect approximately 1,000 jobs.

Chrysler is committed to working with the UAW to address the represented manpower reductions in a socially responsible manner. As the Company has done in the past, the UAW and management leadership will hold employee meetings to review special programs that will be offered at the affected locations.

Currently, the Toledo North Assembly Plant has approximately 2,100 employees and operates on two shifts, producing Dodge Nitro and Jeep Liberty. Employees are represented by UAW Local 12.

The Newark Assembly Plant builds Dodge Durango and Chrysler Aspen and has been operating on one shift since July 2006. Its idling was first announced in February 2007. Newark Assembly Plant currently has approximately 1,000 employees who are represented by UAW Locals 1183 and 1212.