Workers responsible for building the Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country in St. Louis, Missouri, received notice that, come October, their jobs would “indefinitely” be suspended.
That “indefinite” adjective may become “permanent,” as Chrysler LLC co-president Tom LaSorda told Automotive News that the automaker had “no intent to rerun this plant,” and that it ultimately may be fully closed.; The closure could eliminate up to 1500 jobs from the factory.
The stoppage at the St. Louis South plant isn’t Chrysler’s first cut in Missouri; the automaker previously announced it would eliminate a shift – or 900 workers – from the St. Louis North plant, responsible for building the full-size Dodge Ram pickup.
Although van production will be eliminated at St. Louis, it continues in Canada, where Chrysler’s Windsor, Ontario, factory continues to produce the Grand Caravan, Town & Country, and the 2009 Volkswagen Routan models. Chrysler can reportedly build vans in Windsor for nearly $1000 less than it can in the U.S.; The disparity is attributed by UAW representatives in St. Louis to savings in health care costs.
Chrysler says the decision was made based on volume.; In the first half of 2008, Grand Caravan and Town & Country sales fell 34.6 and 13.4 percent, respectively. Chrysler claims it can meet current demand for the vans with a single shift devoted to each version.
Source: Automotive News