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Published: Saturday, 10/3/2009

Parts shortage triggers shutdown at Jeep

BLADE STAFF

Chrysler Group LLC said yesterday that the factories at the Toledo Jeep Assembly complex that build the Wrangler will be shut down next week because of what the automaker described as "a parts shortage from an external supplier."

It will idle about 500 Chrysler workers on two shifts and 500 to 700 supplier workers in the complex.

Chrysler did not identify the part or the supplier involved in the shutdown, saying only that "the shutdown is due to the continued stress in the automotive supply chain."

The shutdown shows the continued stress on automotive suppliers, Chrysler said in a statement. "Our team is working very hard to make sure this is resolved within the week," said spokesman Max Gates.

The decline in U.S. vehicle sales and production this year has strained many parts suppliers and left them short of cash.

Union officials at Toledo Jeep said the Wrangler factories and the one next door that makes the Jeep Liberty and Dodge Nitro have had trouble maintaining a steady flow of parts since resuming production this summer.

The plants were idled for about two months in the spring when Chrysler shut down all of its plants nationwide during its Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.


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