It’s one of the most popular brands produced by Stellantis, formerly known as Fiat Chrysler. So why are 1,600 workers at a Jeep plant in Belvidere, Illinois, on the cusp of losing their jobs?
Unfortunately, we’re seeing the fallout from a global computer chip shortage hit greater extremes. Earlier this month, Stellantis attributed losses of about 11% in the first quarter to semiconductor shortages that impacted production rates.
At the time, Stellantis suggested it would get worse in the second quarter, and it seems we’re seeing a preview: last week, the company said it would cut an entire shift at the Belvidere plant in late July.
What’s worse is that this particular plant has already been sitting idle since March, an approach that’s also been taken by many Stellantis competitors who have struggled to maintain production levels without access to critical parts.
While the company said it does expect the fallout from the chip shortage to abate somewhat in the second half of the year, that doesn’t appear to be enough to save the workers in Belvidere. Company spokeswoman Jodi Tinson confirmed to the Associated Press that axing the second shift in Belvidere could result in the layoffs of 1,641 workers.
The Belvidere plant produces the Jeep Cherokee, and while Stellantis recently confirmed that its rollout of a new, 3-row version of the Cherokee was still on track for the third quarter, that model will be produced in the company’s Jefferson North plant in Detroit.