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Published: Saturday, 12/6/2008

Jeep, GM to furlough hundreds in Toledo

FROM BLADE STAFF AND WIRE SERVICES

As job cuts in the automotive industry nationally occur by the thousands, hundreds of workers at Chrysler LLC's Toledo Jeep Assembly complex and at General Motors Corp.'s Toledo Powertrain plant are being furloughed.

A second shift at the Toledo Jeep factory, which makes the Jeep Liberty and Dodge Nitro, will again be idled next week as it was this week because of weak sales of the two vehicles, a spokesman said. No figure of affected workers was disclosed, but the plant employs 2,200.

The factories next door, which make the Jeep Wrangler, will be shut down next week, affecting 500 workers, a spokesman said.

All of the Toledo Jeep complex will be shut down, as is customary, for the Christmas holidays from Dec. 24 through Jan. 2.

The slump in auto sales have hurt GM, too, as it said yesterday it would lay off another 2,000 workers at three plants. Plus, 110 workers on the third shift at Toledo Powertrain will be furloughed from Dec. 15 through Feb. 9, a company spokesman said.

The company said it will cut shifts at car factories in Lordstown, Ohio; Orion Township, Mich.; and Oshawa, Ont., starting in February because of slowing demand for their products.

So far this year, GM has announced 11,000 factory worker layoffs in the United States. The automaker's U.S. sales fell 41 percent in November from a year earlier.

At Toledo Powertrain, which employs 1,500, production of the six-speed, rear-wheel drive transmissions will continue with first and second shifts, the spokesman said.



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