DETROIT Feb 6 Chrysler LLC said it will idle
four plants starting Monday as it seeks to curb production in
the face of weak demand for vehicles.
The struggling U.S. automaker, which received a $4 billion
emergency loan from the U.S. government last month, is idling
its plants in Sterling Heights, Michigan, Belvidere, Illinois,
Conner Avenue in Detroit and Brampton, Ontario.
"We are responding to market conditions, the number of
orders we are getting," Chrysler spokesman Max Gates said on
Friday. "We are looking at these schedules every week."
Chrysler, which saw its U.S. sales decline 30 percent in
2008 and 55 percent in January, had shut down all of its 30
manufacturing facilities for a month from mid-December.
The shutdowns at the Belvidere plant that builds the
slow-selling Dodge Caliber, Jeep Patriot and Jeep Compass SUVs,
and its Sterling Heights factory that builds the Sebring and
Avenger sedans had been extended for an additional week.
The two factories had resumed operations on Jan. 26.
Chrysler's Brampton plant builds the 300, Charger and
Challenger sedans while its Conner Avenue plant in Detroit
builds the Dodge Viper.
The Conner Avenue plant has been idled since December as
the company seeks a buyer for the Viper sports car line.
Chrysler said this week that it is considering bids from three
parties interested in the brand.
By idling plants, Chrysler and other automakers can cut
costs on inventory, components and related charges such as
utilities for operating large production facilities.
The moves also keep finished vehicle inventories from
piling up on dealer lots and increasing the pressure for even
greater discounting to consumers.
Privately held Chrysler is 80 percent-owned by private
equity firm Cerberus Capital Management.
(Reporting by Poornima Gupta, editing by Dave Zimmerman)