Chrysler planning to redesign at least five models by mid-2011

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 29, 2010

Due to Chrysler Group's plans to redesign at least five of its models by mid-2011, it's likely that it will rehire workers and schedule overtime to do so, according to a report by the Detroit Free Press, citing people familiar with the plans.

The report claims that Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne, who also runs Italian automaker Fiat S.p.A., wants face-lifts in 18 months for the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Caravan minivans and the Dodge Caliber, Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot crossovers. It is estimated that redesigns of this sort usually take two to three years.

There are also plans to redo the PT Cruiser, although the report failed to specify a time frame for the project. After receiving approval from Chrysler's board on last Friday, Marchionne is expected to submit a five-year plan to the presidential auto task force.

As soon as it gets board approval, Chrysler aims to rehire some of those who took buyouts or were laid off at the end of 2008. In September 2008, the company completed 1,000 salaried job cuts in September 2008 and then said it would cut its white-collar work force by 25%, or about 4,300 jobs, in November and December.

Discussions on rehiring are ongoing with UAW Local 412, which represents many of Chrysler's salaried designers. Among the topics discussed is the possibility of those laid off or bought out last year to work for Chrysler on a contractual basis.

According to the newspaper, the company will then have a bigger work force however its staff in design, engineering and product development departments will work overtime to complete the projects. Chrysler and the union have yet to confirm the accuracy of this report.

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