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Chrysler wants to rehire white-collar workers

by Bill Cawthon on

After two years of brutal slashing that left the company unable to produce new vehicles, knowledgeable sources say Chrysler Group now plans to bring back some of the salaried workers it had cut and ask its current employees to start putting in overtime.

The driving force behind the change is CEO Sergio Marchionne’s desire to get some fresh and refreshed product to dealers. Among the targeted vehicles are the Belvidere trio: the Dodge Caliber, Jeep Compass and Patriot; the Town & Country and Caravan and the PT Cruiser, which Marchionne saved from the chopping block in one of his first product moves after taking over the Auburn Hills automaker. The Fiat SpA CEO wants to get the job done in 18 months instead of the usual 24-36 months.

To make this happen, employees working in the design, engineering and product development groups will be asked to begin working overtime and a small number of workers who were laid off or accepted buyouts late last year will be asked to return.

The plan must be approved by Chrysler’s board and the federal government.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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