Chrysler’s Sterling Heights, Michigan plant, which manufactures the 200 midsize sedan will spend more time idle than initially scheduled by FCA’s management.
The company will add another three weeks to the existing hiatus, extend it until April 4. This report from Reuteurs follows Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne’s January announcement that the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart will be axed on the back of dropping fuel prices that led to decreased demand for midsize cars. Or it could have something to do with making the same mistakes as other manufacturers.
The production has been stopped since February 1, on the back of an excessive inventory of 217 days. This is now down to 147, but demand for the 200 has tanked by 58 percent year-on-year in February compared to the same month in 2015, at 6,600 units.
Keeping the plant idle is costing the company dearly: the 2,100 UAW employees are receiving 74 percent of their base pay rate while the shutdown is in place.
Marchionne is on the hunt for a partner to build their next generation of small and medium-sized vehicles for Chrysler. The list of potential partners could include Chinese companies, Mitsubishi or Hyundai, the latter two having already supplied Dodge Mexico with their Attitude small car, initially a rebadged Accent and now a rebadged Mirage.
In any case, an announcement could come in the near-to-medium term. “There are discussions going on now. I think we will find a solution”, said Marchionne. “We continue to talk. It’s both a technical solution and an economic one. We need to find a solution that works economically.”
By Mitchell Jones