By the third quarter of this 12 months, Jeep Cherokee gross sales are down a whopping 61 % year-to-date in comparison with final 12 months, with simply 30,852 bought within the first 9 months of 2022, based on Stellantis. Which is the context for an announcement on Friday that Stellantis might be idling the plant that makes Cherokees, in Belvidere, Illinois. May or not it’s the tip of the highway for Cherokee, too? For now, Stellantis isn’t saying.
By way of WIFR, Stellantis has launched the next assertion:
Our trade has been adversely affected by a large number of things like the continued COVID-19 pandemic and the worldwide microchip scarcity, however probably the most impactful problem is the rising price associated to the electrification of the automotive market.
Stellantis has taken numerous actions to stabilize manufacturing and enhance effectivity at its North American services to protect affordability and buyer satisfaction by way of high quality.
Whereas it considers different avenues to optimize operations, Stellantis has made the choice to idle the Belvidere (Illinois) Meeting plant efficient Feb. 28, 2023.
This tough however obligatory motion will end in indefinite layoffs, that are anticipated to exceed six months and will represent a job loss underneath the Employee Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act. In consequence, WARN notices have been issued to each hourly and salaried staff. The corporate will make each effort to position indefinitely laid-off staff in open full-time positions as they turn out to be out there.
The corporate is also working to establish different alternatives to repurpose the Belvidere facility and has no further particulars to share at the moment.
The UAW, which represents staff on the plant, additionally launched an announcement, and they’re fairly mad:
“We’re all deeply angered by Stellantis’ s choice to idle the Belvidere Meeting plant with out a plan for future product,” says UAW Vice President and Director of the Stellantis Division Cindy Estrada. “There are lots of automobile platforms imported from different international locations that might be inbuilt Belvidere with talent and high quality by UAW members at Belvidere. The transition to electrification additionally creates alternatives for brand new product. Firms like Stellantis obtain billions in authorities incentives to transition to wash power. It’s an insult to all taxpayers that they don’t seem to be investing that cash again into our communities.”
“We imagine Stellantis is grossly misguided in idling this plant which has produced income for the corporate since 1965,” provides UAW President Ray Curry. “Not allocating new product to vegetation like Belvidere is unacceptable. Asserting the closure just some weeks from the vacations can be a merciless disregard for the contributions of our members from UAW Locals 1268 and 1761. We are going to battle again towards this announcement.”
Some 1,350 staff work at Belvidere, based on a Stellantis spokeswoman, staff who are actually presumably very a lot involved for his or her futures, a narrative that has performed out throughout the Midwest again and again for many years now, as automakers have shuttered vegetation and left behind damaged communities of their wake.
It was as current as 2016 when Stellantis introduced that it will be investing $350 million within the Belvidere plant to assist make the Cherokee, although it’s been nearly nothing however unhealthy information ever since for Belvidere, with waves of layoffs up to now few years, together with earlier this 12 months. These got here amid the identical types of provide chain issues each automaker has been dealing lately, however in addition they got here as a result of gross sales of the Cherokee have merely cratered.
For now, Stellantis isn’t saying if Cherokee will exit together with the idling of the plant, however they aren’t precisely saying it received’t, both. The Stellantis spokeswoman mentioned this about it for now:
We aren’t commenting on the way forward for the Cherokee nameplate. This is a vital automobile within the lineup, and we stay dedicated long run to this mid-size SUV phase.