The Newark Chrysler assembly plant will close on Dec. 31, nearly a year before it was originally slated to close. A number of newly-elected and re-elected officials are putting forth effort into finding a future owner for the site as well as providing aid to the estimated 1,000 people who will lose their jobs a year earlier than expected.
The Daimler-Chrysler Newark Assembly Plant closed its production for two weeks beginning Oct. 3 after the company experienced a decline in sales of the plant's only vehicle, Dodge Durango. The Durango, a medium-sized sport utility vehicle, is only manufactured at the Newark plant, located on South College Avenue.
Kirk Kerkorian, a billionaire investor, recently placed a bid to purchase the national Chrysler Corporation. Meanwhile, the Newark DaimlerChrysler plant is offering new incentive packages for employees leaving within the next few months. Michelle Tinson, Chrysler spokeswoman for labor and manufacturing, said the company is satisfied with the current acceptance rates of the buyout packages.
DaimlerChrysler officials have put a new deal on the table to encourage their union workers to buy out of the company or retire early in order to help the floundering auto manufacturer cut costs. Michelle Tensin, spokeswoman for the Chrysler headquarters in Michigan, said the company plans for approximately 1,800 of the 2,100 workers at the Chrysler manufacturing plant in Newark to leave the company with the packages during the next three years.
As rumors and questions continue to spread throughout the area as to what the future holds for Newark's economy due to the closings of major manufacturing plants, city officials attempt to remain calm and figure out feasible solutions for the community. With the recently-announced closings of Avon Products Inc.
After months of rumors about the possible closure of Newark's DaimlerChrysler manufacturing plant, word came last Wednesday morning from the Chrysler Group in Auburn Hills, Mich., announcing future plans to cut 1,600 jobs and ultimately idle the plant by 2009.
After months of rumors concerning the future of Newark's DaimlerChrysler manufacturing plant, the decision came early Wednesday morning from the Chrysler Group in Auburn Hills, Mich., that it intends to cut 1,600 jobs and ultimately place the Newark plant on "idle" in 2009.
Speculation has become rampant about the possible closure of one of Newark's leading employers, the DaimlerChrysler manufacturing plant, stemming from an article in The Wall Street Journal last week. The Journal cited that as a part of declining sales in the Chrysler corporation, it began a new initiative entitled Project Refocus, which will look into the possibility of closing the Newark plant.
The Newark Chrysler plant, which currently produces the Dodge Durango, will be the production site of Chrysler's new luxury SUV, the Aspen, beginning this summer. Ed Saenz, manager of manufacturing and labor media relations for Chrysler, said the Newark plant closed temporarily for several weeks last year to adjust its inventory.
In spring 2008, a group of UD broadcast journalism students produced "Left Behind," a documentary about the past, present and future of the Chrysler Plant. The students got unprecedented access to the plant as it lay vacant, waiting for a buyer.
Inside the Chrysler Plant - Spring 2009
Images courtesy of Julie Wigley and Ralph Begleiter. Click to enlarge.