Fiat Chrysler has announced it will indefinitely lay off 1,420 workers at its Sterling Heights Assembly plant in Michigan, which is currently tasked with building the ill-fated Chrysler 200 mid-size sedan. FCA said the job cuts are the result of its desire to “better align production with demand,” according to The Detroit News.
News of the layoffs, which will go into effect on July 5, reached the United Auto Workers and city and state officials this afternoon. The move represents the elimination of an entire shift cut from Sterling Heights Assembly, as well as job cuts at the accompanying Sterling Heights Stamping plant, leaving another 1,900 employees worker the remaining shift.
FCA halted production at Sterling Heights on February 1st ], with production scheduled to resume on March 14th. Production was then again delayed with plans for it to resume this week, however employees now won’t be able to get back to work until next week. The temporary layoffs were sparked by low demand for the mid-size sedan, something FCA says is the “a direct result of shifting demand toward trucks and SUVS.”
Due to the shift in consumer preferences from cars to trucks and SUVs, FCA has decided to outsource the production of the next-generation 200 and Dodge Dart and is currently seeking partners to do so. Freeing up production space will then allow FCA to add more trucks and SUVs to its lineup, a move Marchionne sees as necessary due to the “permanent,” shift in consumer tastes.