Chrysler has announced this morning that it's moving up the closing of its Newark, DE assembly plant. The closure was originally announced in February 2007 and was planned to happen later in 2009. Instead, the plant will be shuttered effective December 31, 2008. Newark is the home of the Chrysler Aspen and Dodge Durango SUVs, products whose sales have tanked this year. At this point, we're still trying to find out what this means for the Aspen and Durango. Chrysler has not said if production will be moved to another factory or if the products will simply be canceled before the end of their lifecycle. The significance of this is that Chrysler only recently launched production of the two-mode hybrid versions of the Durango and Aspen at the Newark plant. If the vehicles are canceled, that will mean a very short production run. The same hybrid powertrain is also being installed in the Ram pickup for a 2010 introduction. We had our first drive of the Aspen and Durango hybrids just a few months ago. We'll update as soon as we here something from Chrysler on the fate of the SUVs.
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Chrysler LLC Clarifies Daimler AG's Third Quarter 2008 Earnings Announcement Related to its 19.9 Percent Interest in Chrysler Holding LLC
* Announces production changes due to ongoing global economic downturn
Auburn Hills, Mich., Oct 23, 2008 - Today, Daimler AG reported a net loss of €351 million for its 19.9 percent share of Chrysler Holding LLC's second quarter 2008 results under International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). On a U.S. GAAP basis, Daimler AG's net loss for Chrysler Holding LLC was €88 million, of which a €76 million net loss is attributable to the automotive business of Chrysler LLC.
The difference between the loss of €351 million reported by Daimler AG related to its 19.9 percent interest in Chrysler Holding LLC and the €88 million of net losses is attributable to the following:
* Adjustments for differences between U.S. GAAP and IFRS accounting standards which equate to approximately a €171 million loss
* Other Daimler AG adjustments not related to Chrysler Holding LLC results totaling approximately a €92 million loss
Chrysler Holding LLC is comprised of Chrysler LLC, the automotive company which manufactures and sells Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep® vehicles worldwide, and Chrysler Financial which provides financial services for these vehicles in the North American region.
Additionally, 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 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 affected locations.
Currently, the Toledo North Assembly Plant has approximately 2,100 employees and operates on two shifts producing Dodge Nitro and Jeep Liberty and is 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.