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Stellantis idling Belvidere Jeep Cherokee plant indefinitely…

Stellantis is idling the Belvidere Meeting Plant, the unique manufacturing house of the Jeep Cherokee, and shedding its ultimate 1,350 employees.

The indefinite plant closure is ready for Feb. 28, the automaker introduced Friday.

“Our business has been adversely suffering from a mess of things like the continuing COVID-19 pandemic and the worldwide microchip scarcity, however essentially the most impactful problem is the expanding price associated with the electrification of the car marketplace,” Stellantis spokeswoman Jodi Tinson mentioned in a commentary.

The sprawling auto plant close to Rockford has been hard-hit by means of provide chain problems and declining gross sales for the Jeep Cherokee SUV, its best product. It introduced a previous round of layoffs in March.

Tinson mentioned Stellantis is “running to spot different alternatives to repurpose the Belvidere facility,” however introduced no further main points. Some analysts consider the plant could also be retooled to construct electrical automobiles.

The Belvidere plant was the unique house for the Jeep Cherokee in 2017. The area’s biggest employer at its zenith, the plant had 5,464 employees on 3 shifts initially of 2019, after development 270,000 of the SUVs throughout the former 12 months. However the plant has dramatically scaled again its group of workers since then, slashing jobs and getting rid of two shifts as call for for the Cherokee waned.

Remaining 12 months, Jeep Cherokee gross sales fell 34% to 89,126 automobiles, in keeping with Stellantis.

Cherokee gross sales have plummeted this 12 months, falling just about 61% to 30,852 automobiles in the course of the 3rd quarter, in keeping with Kelley Blue Ebook.

Many of the 1,350 employees on the Belvidere plant are hourly staff who may well be eligible for a mix of state unemployment and supplemental unemployment advantages, which can be paid by means of FCA US, Tinson mentioned.

Stellantis was once created by means of the merger of Fiat Chrysler Cars (FCA) and Peugeot of France in January 2021.

The Belvidere plant opened below the Chrysler banner in 1965, with a white Plymouth Fury II sedan the primary automobile to roll off the road. Through the years, the plant was once retooled a number of occasions, and made the entirety from the Dodge Neon to the Chrysler New Yorker.

Whilst the plant has been idled by means of Stellantis, it might to find new existence on the middle of the automaker’s plan to transform 50% of its U.S. manufacturing to electrical automobiles by means of 2030.

“We’re taking into consideration all choices,” Tinson instructed the Tribune.

rchannick@chicagotribune.com


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