Stellantis is closing its Illinois plant in February, resulting in indefinite layoffs for 1,350 employees, the company said in a statement, citing rising costs in the electric vehicle market.
“Our industry has been negatively impacted by a host of factors, such as the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the global shortage of microchips, but the most impactful challenge is the rising costs associated with the electrification of the automotive market,” Stellantis said in a statement. declaration. The company said it is taking steps to stabilize production and improve efficiency at its North American facilities.
The European automaker said it will render its Belvidere, Illinois assembly plant “idle” on Feb. 23 and said the layoffs are expected to last more than six months. Stellantis, the parent company of Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep, said it will “do everything it can” to place the laid-off workers on open positions and is looking at other opportunities to repurpose the Belvidere plant.
The United Auto Workers International Union said on Facebook it was “deeply angry” at the decision. Group president Ray Curry said it is “unacceptable” for Stellantis not to allocate new products to the plant.
The Illinois plant builds the Jeep Cherokee and will continue to produce the vehicle until the plant closes, but the company had no comment on the future of that make and model.
“This is an important vehicle in the lineup and we remain committed to this mid-sized SUV segment for the long term,” Jodi Tinson, a Stellantis spokesperson, said in a statement.
In October, the company said its joint venture produces Jeep vehicles in China file for bankruptcy.
Last July, Stellantis made a $35.5 billion pledge to electric vehicles by the end of 2025 to expand its portfolio. The company planned to have 70% of its European sales and 40% of its U.S. sales be all-electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles within four years, CEO Carlos Tavares said.
– Peter Valdes-Dapena contributed to this report.