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Article published February 4, 2008

Assembly work temporarily stalled at Toledo Jeep


The Toledo Jeep Assembly complex will temporarily close because one of its main suppliers is in bankruptcy, a spokesman for Chrysler LLC said today.

The facility, which employs more than 4,000 Chrysler workers and builds Jeep Libertys and Wranglers as well as the Dodge Nitro, is being shut down because Plastech Engineered Products Inc. has filed for bankruptcy, Chrysler spokesman David Elshoff said.

Plastech, a key supplier from Dearborn, Mich., makes molded interior, exterior, and powertrain components for the Jeep Liberty, Dodge Nitro, and Jeep Wrangler, as well as for a number of other vehicles for Chrysler, Ford Motor Co., Toyota Motor Corp., and General Motors Corp.

Mr. Elshoff said that both remaining shifts at factory making the Liberty and Nitro are being shut down immediately, while the second shift at the neighboring Wrangler factories is being idled. Skilled trades and janitorial workers are being notified on an individual basis of their work schedules.

Toledo Jeep is one of four Chrysler assembly plants being shut down immediately while the company recovers its tooling from Plastech and scrambles to move it to another supplier. Also impacted are assembly plants in Sterling Heights, Mich., Newark, Del., and Belvidere, Ill.

Mr. Elshoff said the plants were being idled because of a shortage of parts. He could not say when the company would be able to replace parts manufactured by Plastech.

“We’re working on that,” he said.

Workers at Toledo Jeep had been scheduled to return to work today after a one-week hiatus scheduled due to slow sales.

The United Auto Workers had announced last week that more than 630 workers at Toledo Jeep Assembly had accepted buyout packages, enough to blunt the impact of the loss of 780 jobs as Chrysler eliminated the plant’s third shift upon workers’ return today.

Plastech has 36 facilities and 7,600 employees in the United States and Canada. According to its Web site, the supplier has five plants in the region, including two in Monroe and one each in Bryan, Wauseon, and Napoleon, Ohio.

Dan Henneman, Jeep unit chairman for UAW Local 12, could not be reached for comment.

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