Chrysler Says Four Plants to Skip Midyear Output Breaks

Chrysler Group LLC, the biggest gainer of U.S. market share through April, said four plants will skip normally scheduled two-week midyear shutdowns to meet increased demand.

Factories in Belvidere, Illinois; Toluca, Mexico; and Detroit, and a parts factory in Toledo, Ohio, will stay open, the company said today in a statement on its website. Two more plants will shut for one week instead of two, according to Auburn Hills, Michigan-based Chrysler.

“We need to build a few more vehicles, so they’re staying open,” Jodi Tinson, a company spokeswoman, said in a phone interview. All plants took at least one week off in mid-2011 for “summer shutdown,” which automakers usually schedule for maintenance, renovations, or tooling changes and to prepare factories to make new model-year vehicles.

Chrysler’s Belvidere assembly plant makes Jeep Compass and Patriot sport-utility vehicles and is preparing to build Dodge Dart compact cars, according to the company’s website. Toluca manufactures the Dodge Journey and Fiat Freemont crossovers and Fiat 500 small car. Jefferson North assembly in Detroit builds the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango SUVs, according to the website.

The two plants shutting for one week are in Sterling Heights, Michigan, and Saltillo, Mexico. Those factories make the Chrysler 200, Dodge Avenger and Lancia Flavia cars, as well as Ram pickups.

Chrysler deliveries climbed 33 percent in the first four months of this year to 539,216, according to researcher Autodata Corp. The company, which builds more than half of its vehicles in the U.S., boosted worldwide shipments by 25 percent in the first quarter, according to an April 26 earnings presentation.

Chrysler’s U.S. market share rose 2 percentage points to 11.6 percent through April, according to Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey-based Autodata. Chrysler is majority owned by Fiat SpA. (F)

To contact the reporter on this story: Craig Trudell in Southfield, Michigan at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jamie Butters at

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