Chrysler to lay off 1,200 at Ontario minivan plant

Wed Mar 4, 2009 5:17pm EST
 
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TORONTO (Reuters) - Chrysler is cutting a shift at its minivan plant in Windsor, Ontario, and will indefinitely lay off 1,200 workers as a result of the move, the struggling automaker said on Wednesday.

Chrysler said that elimination of the third shift at the plant will take place after June 24 and cited slumping vehicle sales as the reason.

Chrysler became Canada's No. 1 automaker in February for the first time in its 84-year history as Canadian car and truck sales slumped nearly 28 percent.

The Windsor plant employs about 4,450 hourly workers and makes the Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country minivans, as well as the Volkswagen Routan.

Since 2007, Chrysler has slashed more than 32,000 jobs and is cutting another 3,000 in 2009. The cuts are part of its efforts to reduce costs and comply with commitments it has made to the U.S. government under its viability plan, it said.

"Chrysler is also in discussions with the Canadian federal and Ontario provincial governments regarding assistance for the company's Canadian operations," it said in a statement.

(Reporting by Wojtek Dabrowski; editing by Peter Galloway)