Stellantis will close its plant in Illinois in February, resulting in the indefinite layoff of 1,350 employees due to rising costs in the electric vehicle market, the company said in a statement.
“Our industry has been adversely affected by a number of factors including the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the global shortage of microchips, but the most impactful challenge is the increasing costs associated with the electrification of the automotive market,” Stellantis said in a statement. The company said it was taking steps to “stabilize production” and “improve efficiency” at its North American factories.
The European automaker said it would “idle” its Belvidere, Illinois, assembly plant on Feb. 23, saying the job cuts were expected to last more than six months. Stellantis, the parent company of Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep, said it would make “every effort” to fill the vacant positions with furloughed workers and was looking at other opportunities to repurpose the Belvidere plant.
The UAW said on Facebook it was “deeply outraged” by the decision. Group president Ray Curry said it was “unacceptable” that Stellantis had not allocated new product to the plant.
The Illinois plant builds the Jeep Cherokee and will continue building the car until the plant closes, but the company declined to comment on the future of the brand and model.
“This is an important vehicle in the lineup and we remain committed to the midsize SUV segment for the long term,” Stellantis spokeswoman Jodi Tinson said in a statement.
The company said in October that its joint venture that makes Jeep vehicles in China is filing for bankruptcy protection.
Last July, Stellantis pledged to invest $35.5 billion in electric vehicles by the end of 2025 to expand its product portfolio. The company plans to have 70 percent of its European sales and 40 percent of its U.S. sales be all-electric or plug-in hybrid within four years, Chief Executive Carlos Tavares said. car.
– Peter Valdes-Dapena contributed to this report.