Chrysler Group has temporarily idled the second shift of new hires at its Toledo site in Ohio since the finished 2014 Jeep Cherokees have yet to be rolled out to dealerships. Chrysler said the temporary layoff is expected to last around two weeks. About 500 workers are off the job with around 600 others having been reassigned at the Toledo Assembly Complex.
Chrysler spokeswoman Jodi Tinson wrote in a statement to Automotive News that the carmaker has been building vehicles since the end of June and has now reached the critical number of vehicles needed to stock dealerships “once containment is released."
Tinson added that Chrysler will temporarily idle the second shift “so as not to put additional strain” on their logistics partners to get them to customers “as quickly and efficiently as possible upon release.” According to Chrysler, 9,430 Cherokees were built by the end of August and are being held in lots near the Toledo plant in Ohio and in Michigan.
Chrysler added a second shift full time on Aug. 19, 2013, as it ramped up output of the Cherokee. Toledo site officials remarked this summer that the two shifts would speed up production up to 800 vehicles per day.
Although executives Jeep and Chrysler have repeatedly said that sales of the new Cherokees would start in the third quarter, no such models were listed in dealer stocks anywhere in the US on the Jeep.com Web site.
Chrysler commenced production of the Cherokee on June 24 and had planned to roll them out in mid-August, Jeep brand head Mike Manley said in late June. The rollout didn’t occur, with Chrysler saying that the Cherokees still need a software fix.