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Chrysler to idle 2 plants, cut shift
The lingering slump in Chrysler LLC auto sales will give workers at two factories an unexpected break in January.

The Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit and Windsor Assembly Plant will shut down for part of January as the Auburn Hills automaker appears to be lowering production in response to forecasts of declining 2008 vehicle demand.

Jefferson North, which produces the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep Commander, will shut for three weeks beginning Jan. 14; and Windsor Assembly Plant, which produces the Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country, is scheduled to close for two weeks starting on the same date, union officials at both locations confirmed Tuesday.

In another development, Chrysler will eliminate the second shift at Jefferson North on Feb. 4, according to a memo to workers obtained by The Detroit News. Last month, Chrysler said it would cut shifts at five North American plants, including Jefferson North.

News of Chrysler's temporary factory shutdowns come on the heels of similar news from Ford Motor Co., which on Monday temporarily closed its light truck plant in Dearborn and another in Kentucky -- two weeks ahead of their planned holiday closings. The Dearborn plant builds the F-150 pickup and the Louisville, Ky., builds the Explorer sport utility.

Company spokeswoman Anne Marie Gattari said the move is part of the company's typical response to adjust supply to meet fluctuating demand. Detroit News

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