Chrysler goes dark

Automaker to shut all North American plants Friday for one month


In the midst of the controversy over whether America’s Big 3 automakers should receive federal loan assistance, Chrysler announced Wednesday that it would close all North American plants for one month beginning Friday. Plants are not scheduled to reopen until Jan. 19, putting 46,000 workers out just as Christmas arrives.

The move is seen as a way to stem the losses at the beleaguered automaker. While GM announced it would reduce production by 30% and Ford would add another week to its annual holiday furlough, the move by Chrysler is the most severe cut to date among U.S.-based automakers.

Chrysler sales are down 47% as the global economic crisis deepens. Chrysler officials blame some of the sales shortfall on the lack of available credit in the market.

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