Chrysler To Cut 13,000 Jobs

Wednesday, February 14th 2007, 9:10 am
By: News On 6

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) _ About 13,000 Chrysler workers will lose their jobs under a plan the struggling automaker says would cut costs and return its U.S. operations to profitability by next year.

The plan was announced Wednesday morning, hours after Chrysler's parent, DaimlerChrysler AG, said it was considering ``far-reaching strategic options with partners'' and that ``no option is being excluded.''

The plan calls for closing the company's Newark, Del., assembly plant, and reducing shifts at plants in Warren, Mich., and St. Louis. A parts distribution center near Cleveland also will be closed.

Under the plan, 11,000 production workers _ 9,000 in the U.S. and 2,000 in Canada _ will lose their jobs over the next three years, and 2,000 salaried jobs also will be cut _ 1,000 this year and 1,000 in 2008.

The job losses are the latest in a yearlong series of devastating cuts in the ailing domestic auto industry, which likely will lose more than 100,000 jobs in all.

The restructuring announcement was made in Auburn Hills, the home to DaimlerChrysler's U.S.-based operations.

DaimlerChrysler said its fourth-quarter earnings plunged 40 percent on weaker demand at the Chrysler unit, where sales fell 7 percent.

DaimlerChrysler's profit fell to $761 million, or 74 cents per share, as revenue slipped to $53.7 billion.

The job cuts at Chrysler will reduce by 400,000 the number of vehicles that operations can produce each year.

The Delaware plant, which makes the slow-selling Dodge Durango and Chrysler Aspen mid-sized sport utility vehicles, employs about 2,100 workers. Chrysler plans to close it in 2009, with a shift reduction this year.

The Warren truck plant, with 3,313 hourly employees, makes the Dodge Ram and Dakota pickups, which saw sales decline last year. Chrysler plans to eliminate a shift there this year.

The other plant to lose a shift is the St. Louis South assembly plant, which makes Chrysler and Dodge minivans. It has 2,850 workers and would lose the shift in 2008.

The Cleveland-area parts distribution center would be close sometime this year, Chrysler said.

DaimlerChrysler Chairman Dieter Zetsche said the company is looking into ``further strategic options with partners'' for Chrysler.

``In this regard we do not exclude any option in order to find the best solution for both the Chrysler Group and DaimlerChrysler,'' Zetsche said in a statement.