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Chrysler Set to Idle Canadian Assembly Plant Due to Sluggish Sales

October 27, 2003

Chrysler is set to idle a major Canadian assembly plant in a move highlighting sluggish sales in recent months, according to a report carried by Reuters. Chrysler spokeswoman Mary Beth Halprin, citing a need "to keep inventory levels managed on minivans," said on Oct. 24 that the Windsor Assembly Plant will be closed throughout next week, Reuters reported.The report said that she declined to elaborate on the shutdown of the plant, which produces the Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town and Country minivans, along with the new Chrysler Pacifica wagon. But Reuters said that other sources familiar with Chrysler's plans said the plant, which makes more than 1,325 vehicles a day, would be idled for two weeks.The Reuters report added that Ken Lewenza, who heads the Canadian Auto Workers union at Windsor Assembly, announced the planned shutdown in remarks to reporters earlier this month. He blamed it on bloated inventories of unsold Pacificas and minivans, according to Reuters and at that time, Chrysler declined to comment.The Reuters report pointed out that the 2004 Pacifica, which accounts for roughly a quarter of Windsor Assembly's production, was billed as an innovative "segment buster" vital to Chrysler's bottom line when it went on sale in March.DaimlerChrysler recently said that it would offer incentives on its new Pacifica sport wagon in a move the company says reflects the motor industry's growing dependence on discounts to sell cars. Chrysler has begun offering five-year, zero percent financing and $3,000 cash back on the Pacifica in an attempt to jump-start flat sales while customers who lease also will get a $3,000 price discount.
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