Chrysler Sets a Two-Week Furlough for Most Workers
By NICK BUNKLEY
DETROIT — Chrysler plans to halt virtually all operations for two weeks in July as part of its effort to cut costs and return to profitability.
Summer shutdowns are longstanding traditions in the auto industry so plants can be retooled for the new model year, but they primarily involve only hourly workers. Chrysler told its salaried employees Thursday that, except for those who keep working in “business-critical activities,” they must use vacation time during the shutdown.
In past years, Chrysler has staggered its shutdowns throughout the summer. This will be the first shutdown since Chrysler became a private company, under the equity firm Cerberus Capital Management. The company, which is the fourth-largest seller of vehicles in the United States behind the other Detroit carmakers and Toyota, has about 70,000 employees.
“As a private company, we all need to think like owners and do our part to accelerate Chrysler’s recovery and transformation,” Chrysler’s chief executive, Robert L. Nardelli, told employees in an e-mail message.
“One idea that we have taken a fresh look at is the implementation of a two-week mandatory vacation shutdown,” Mr. Nardelli said in the message. “This year, in order to create better alignment and efficiency across organizational lines and boost productivity, Chrysler will use a corporate-wide vacation shutdown for the weeks of July 7 and July 14.”