Chrysler alters production at Charger/Challenger, Fiat 500 plants due to Japanese crisis

The Chrysler Group has announced their first work stoppage due to the Japanese earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis as the Detroit automaker has cut planned overtime at the Brampton, Ontario and Toluca, Mexico production facilities in an effort to conserve electric components sourced from Japan.

The Brampton, Ontario plant is responsible for producing the Dodge Charger, Dodge Challenger and Chrysler 300 while the Toluca Mexico plant builds the new Fiat 500 and the Dodge Journey crossover. Chrysler points out that they have not had to make any alterations to production schedules but in order to conserve items that could become hard to find because of the damage to Japanese suppliers, the company has opted to cut the planned overtime work at the two production facilities.

American automakers have been the least affected by the Japanese disasters thus far but with some small amount of Japanese parts on pretty much every American vehicle, analysts expect the Big 3 to feel the full force of the earthquake in Japan over the next month. This overtime cancellation is another example of companies bracing for the full impact of the Japanese problems, similar to Ford stopping production of the F-Series pickup and Mustang for similar reasons. During the course of the month of April, we should start to get a much better look at how bad supplier issues could get through the summer as Japan digs out.

In addition to overtime being cut at the Brampton and Toluca plants, the Chrysler plant in Windsor Ontario is idle this week as the company deals with non-Japanese supplier issues. Many people seem to have forgotten due to the problems in Japan but prior to the March 11th earthquake, the boom in auto sales was already causing supplier shortages around the industry. The Windsor plant builds the Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country, as well as building minivans for Volkswagen.

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Source: Reuters

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