Fiat Chrysler to cut 1,371 workers at Belvidere plant

  • Fiat Chrysler said it will cut 1,371 employees at its Belvidere Assembly Plant as it makes new investments in Michigan.

    Fiat Chrysler said it will cut 1,371 employees at its Belvidere Assembly Plant as it makes new investments in Michigan. Illinois News Network image

 
Daily Herald News Services
Updated 2/27/2019 3:01 PM

Fiat Chrysler announced plans to cut 1,371 employees at its Belvidere Assembly Plant, the same day it said it would make new investments in Michigan.

The automaker said Tuesday it plans to reduce production at the northern Illinois facility from three shifts to two. The plant makes the Jeep Cherokee. The Rockford Register Star said the shift would occur on May 2.

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State Rep. Joe Sosnowski, a Republican from Rockford, said he was troubled to hear about the reduction in shifts at the plant in his district.

"We hope that the distribution of jobs from a three-shift to two-shift will mean many of those jobs will be reincorporated in," he said Tuesday.

Sosnowski said there are some economic development incentives that were given to the automaker and that he would work with the governor's office to make sure they're "doing everything they can to keep that facility as productive as possible."

The company plans to invest $4.5 billion in its existing Michigan plants and create nearly 6,500 new jobs as a result.

In Detroit, the investment will help "increase capacity to meet growing demand for its Jeep and Ram brands, including production of two new Jeep-branded white space products, as well as electrified models," according to a news release from the company.

The company spent $350 million retooling the Belvedere plant in 2017 to begin producing Jeep Cherokee, which added 300 jobs at the time. Before that, the facility was building the Dodge Dart compact sedan, and before that, the Dodge Neon. The retooling was in response to a shift in consumer demand toward SUVs and trucks.

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