The company needs to match production to slowing demand and conserve cash.
Tighter credit markets are keeping would-be buyers away from their showrooms, Chrysler says. Dealers are unable to close sales for buyers due to a lack of financing, and estimate that 20 to 25 percent of their volume has been lost due to the credit situation.
Chrysler claims it is nearing the minimum level of cash it needs to run the company and will have trouble paying bills after the first of the year.
Operations at the 30 plants will be idled at the end of shift on Friday, Dec. 19, and will not come back online until Jan. 19, 2009, or later.
Ford taking a break, too
Ford says it will shut down 10 of its North American assembly plants for an extra week in January due to the slumping U.S. auto market.
Spokeswoman Angie Kozleski says the normal two-week holiday shutdown will be extended to Jan. 12 at all operating assembly plants except those in Claycomo, Mo., near Kansas City and the Dearborn, Mich., truck plant.
Those two plants will return to work as normal on Jan. 5. Both make the new F-150 pickup truck, while Claycomo also makes the Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner.
Ford will also extend the shutdown at some engine, transmission and parts stamping plants, or shut portions of them to match production cuts at the assembly plants.
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