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Belvidere plant to reopen today

by Bill Cawthon on

The Chrysler’s Belvidere, Illinois, assembly plant is scheduled to reopen today. A parts shortage caused the plant, which makes the Dodge Caliber, Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot, to suspend production Tuesday, idling 2,300 workers.

Supply chain issues have become a significant problem during the massive upheaval the industry has experienced over the last 18 months and even minor hiccups can have a big effect. Last month, a shortage of a plastic key fob caused the shutdown of the minivan production lines at Chrysler’s plant in Windsor, Ontario.

Dan Knott, Chrysler Group’s purchasing chief, is working with suppliers and production planners to minimize the impact and Mike Keegan is handling supply chain management. Knott says there has been a 70% reduction in supply glitches since the end of 2009 but some problems will remain for the foreseeable future.

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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