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Hundreds of Toledo Jeep workers temporarily laid off

09/23/2013

TOLEDO -- Efficiencies in supply and demand may be to blame for about 500 Jeep workers being temporarily laid off at Toledo's North Assembly complex.

Chrysler Group says they have scaled back production of the new Jeep Cherokee after having built enough to supply dealerships with the model.

"We have been producing vehicles since the end of June and have now built the critical number of vehicles we need to stock dealerships once containment is released," said the company in a statement released Monday. "We will temporarily idle the second shift (at Toledo North) so as not to put additional strain on our logistics partners to get these vehicles into the hands of customers as quickly and efficiently as possible upon release."

Chrysler says the layoffs are expected to last about two weeks.
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September 25, 2013


Chrysler delays launch of Cherokee; workers cite transmission issues


Chrysler Group LLC has put the brakes on production of its 2014 Jeep Cherokee, idling hundreds of workers at its Toledo Assembly Complex and assigning others to perform lengthy test drives of the all-new crossover.

It is just the latest in a series of snags for a product that CEO Sergio Marchionne says Chrysler cannot afford to get wrong.

The Cherokee was originally supposed to be in showrooms by July, but its launch has been delayed — first by problems with fit and finish, then by issues with its new nine-speed transmission.


The company downplayed the latest delay and said the Cherokee will begin shipping by the end of the month.

“We have been producing vehicles since the end of June and have now built the critical number of vehicles we need to stock dealerships once containment is released,” said Chrysler spokeswoman Jodi Tinson in a statement Monday afternoon. “We will temporarily idle the second shift so as not to put additional strain on our logistics partners to get these vehicles into the hands of customers as quickly and efficiently as possible upon release.”

But workers at the factory told The Detroit News that production has been slowed in order to deal with a backlog of more than a thousand vehicles that still have transmission issues.

About 500 workers are being temporarily laid off at the factory, as Chrysler cuts production from two shifts to one. The layoffs are expected to last two weeks. And some workers who have not been idled have been reassigned to take the Jeeps on long test-drives.

The nine-speed automatic transmission for the Cherokee was designed by Germany’s ZF Friedrichshafen AG, but that company said the transmissions themselves are being built by Chrysler.

In July, Marchionne said Chrysler was delaying shipments of the Cherokee until September in order to iron out issues with the new gearbox, and he warned that further delays could have serious repercussions for the company’s finances.


“The second half (financial goal for 2013) is not doable without a proper launch of the Cherokee,” Marchionne warned in a July conference call with analysts and reporters. “It’s an absolutely necessary condition to achieve our targets.”

Dealers are anxiously awaiting the replacement for the Jeep Liberty, but say the most important thing is that the company get it right.

“I just can’t wait to get it. We don’t have anything in that segment,” said Alan Helfman of Helfman River Oaks Chrysler-Jeep in Texas, adding that he already has customers waiting for the Cherokee. “But I’d prefer it come out later and they get it right.”

Analysts say Chrysler has a great deal riding on this car, and some have expressed concern that the delays point to deeper problems in the organization.

“There’s a lot of eyes on the Cherokee. And the vehicle isn’t getting off on the right foot. It’s critical that they sort out the issues,” said Jeff Schuster of LMC Automotive. “It looks like that’s what they’re doing with this. In either case you’ve got a problem, but erring on the side of caution is better than rushing the vehicle to dealers with problems.”


From The Detroit News: Chrysler delays launch of Cherokee; workers cite transmission issues | The Detroit News
 

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Fiat SpA : Chrysler reinstates shift at Ohio plant making Jeep Cherokee

09/26/2013

The Chrysler Toledo Assembly Complex used to produce Jeep Cherokee in Toledo


Chrysler Group LLC, a unit of Fiat SpA, said on Thursday that the second shift producing the 2014 Jeep Cherokee sports utility vehicle in Ohio will resume work on Monday after a five-day halt.

Production of the new Cherokee, which has a nine-speed transmission, was slowed on September 23 when the second shift was suspended, Chrysler said. By the end of August, there were 9,400 Cherokees built and held for shipment.

The 500 workers laid off for this week are to report to work Monday for the second shift at the Toledo North plant, along with 600 workers who were reassigned for this week.



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