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Published: Wednesday, 6/17/2009

Part of Toledo Jeep, 6 other Chrysler assembly plants to restart

BLADE STAFF

DETROIT Chrysler Group LLC says it will resume making vehicles at seven of its North American factories starting June 29, but its announcement includes only part of the Toledo Jeep Assembly complex.

All the company's factories were shut down May 4, shortly after it went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The company confirmed that factories in Toledo; in Sterling Heights and Warren, Mich.; in St. Louis; in Brampton and Windsor, Ontario; and in Toluca, Mexico would restart operations. Production at a Detroit factory resumed Monday.

But the company's list includes only the Toledo factories which make the Jeep Wrangler and not those that make the Jeep Liberty and Dodge Nitro. The Liberty and Nitro factory employs about 1,000 of the complex's 1,700 Chrysler workers.

Dan Henneman, Jeep unit chair at United Auto Workers Local 12, said Chrysler hasn't confirmed when the Liberty and Nitro factory will restart but he said it likely won't be until July 27, after a company-wide summer shutdown ends. He attributed the situation to high inventory and sluggish sales of models built there.

Ont he restart of the Liberty and Nitro plant, a company spokesman said only that it would be "later this summer."

Parts plants that supply the assembly factories also will restart June 29, the company said, including the Toledo Machining Plant in Perrysburg Township.

All of Chrysler plants are scheduled to be shut down again the weeks of July 13 and 20, as part of normal model changeover changes.

Most of Chrysler's assets were sold to a new company led by Italian automaker Fiat Group SpA. The new company emerged from bankruptcy protection June 10.



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