Stellantis to Shutter Belvidere, Illinois Plant
Stellantis is going to shutter operations at its plant in Belvidere, Illinois.
This will result in what the company calls "indefinite layoffs."
The plant employs around 1,350 people.
Here's the company's statement in full: "Due to a multitude of factors that have adversely affected our industry, like the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the global microchip shortage, the most impactful challenge is the increasing cost related to the electrification of the automotive market. Stellantis has taken a number of actions to stabilize production and improve efficiency at its North American facilities to preserve affordability and customer satisfaction in terms of quality. While it considers other avenues to optimize operations, Stellantis has made the decision to idle the Belvidere (Illinois) Assembly plant effective Feb. 28, 2023. This difficult but necessary action will result in indefinite layoffs, which are expected to exceed six months and may constitute a job loss under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act. As a result, WARN notices have been issued to both hourly and salaried employees. The company will make every effort to place indefinitely laid off employees in open full-time positions as they become available. The company also is working to identify other opportunities to repurpose the Belvidere facility and has no additional details to share at this time."
It's worth noting that the Belvidere plant, which currently builds the Jeep Cherokee, wasn't given specific mention earlier this year when Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares talked to investors about a planned shift to electric vehicles over the long term.
Illinois lawmakers at both the state and local levels have passed incentives for EV manufacturing. The former passed an act that gives tax breaks for EV manufacturing in the state, while local lawmakers tried last year to specifically incentivize EV manufacturing at the plant in order to keep it open.
While the line about "opportunities to repurpose" the plant seems to suggest Stellantis might not be giving up on it, I am not so sure. It appears that the company has decided that Belvidere simply isn't part of its EV plans. Whether that means Stellantis will use the plant for another part of the manufacturing process or sell it or something else remains to be seen.
All that's known right now is that a lot of people will be laid off at the end of February.
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FreedMike on Dec 12, 2022
By the way, the production is definitely headed to Mexico per this article from Reuters.
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