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Chrysler offers buyouts to 23,000 more employees

by Bill Cawthon on

Chrysler Group continues to trim the ranks of hourly employees. The automaker confirmed Friday that buyout and early retirement offers went out to 23,000 workers represented by the United Auto Workers union. The offers include cash, vehicle vouchers and, depending on tenure and location, at least some pension and retirement health benefits. Special offers are being made to employees working at plants scheduled to be closed. Skilled trades and salaried employees represented by the UAW are not eligible for the program. Chrysler spokeswoman Shawn Morgan declined to say how many employees the company hopes will take the offers by the deadline of November 13 and leave the company voluntarily.

Under the leadership of CEO Sergio Marchionne, the company is getting a top-to-bottom reorganization, but industry analysts say Chrysler may still need to close two more plants. A six-hour presentation scheduled for next Wednesday will detail the company’s plans to return to profitability in two years. It is expected the program will include more efficient manufacturing, better marketing and major changes to the vehicle lineup and organization. Early hints indicate Dodge cars will move to performance-oriented brand, Dodge trucks will become a brand in their own right and Jeep will targeted at increasing international sales. There are conflicting reports on the future of Chrysler itself, with some saying the brand will be the “family car” with a range of vehicles including the only minivan, while others maintain that Marchionne still wants to move the brand upscale.

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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