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Detroit News

Chrysler LLC moves aggressively today to slash costs and reduce production by announcing shift reductions at five North American assembly plants and up to 10,000 hourly job cuts through 2008.

The privately held automaker said it will also cut 1,000 salaried positions, 37 percent -- about 1,100 jobs -- of its contract workers and eliminate hourly and salaried overtime.

The dramatic cutbacks are the first major restructuring action taken by Chrysler since it was acquired in August by the private-equity firm Cerberus Capital Management.

The cuts are in addition to 11,000 hourly jobs and 2,000 salaried positions eliminated in the ongoing, three-year "recovery and transformation" plan unveiled earlier this year.

Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli said the broad cutbacks announced today were driven by weakening conditions in the U.S. market.

"The market situation has changed dramatically in the eight months since Chrysler established the recovery and transformation plan as its blueprint," Nardelli said in a statement.

Chrysler said the manufacturing changes "will lead to a reduction of 8,500 to 10,000 additional hourly jobs through 2008."

Shifts will be dropped at the Jefferson North plant in Detroit, and at assembly plants in Sterling Heights; Belvidere, Ill.; Toledo; and Brampton, Ont. In addition, a shift will be eliminated at the Mack Avenue engine complex in Detroit.

"We have to move now to adjust the way our company looks and acts to reflect a smaller market," Chrysler Vice Chairman Tom LaSorda said in a statement. "That means a cost base that is right-sized and an appropriate level of plant utilization."

Chrysler also said it will drop four slow-selling models through 2008 -- the Chrysler PT convertible, Chrysler Pacifica crossover, Dodge Magnum wagon, and Chrysler Crossfire roadster.
 

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Brampton? Hard to believe. They have been working 3 shifts 6 days a week.
 
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