Improved Demand Keeps Chrysler Detroit Plant Open

1500 jobs saved

Chrysler Group said that improved demand would allow it to keep open a Detroit plant slated for closure and maintain a third shift at a Canadian facility.

Company officials said the Detroit plant that produces the Viper sports car will stay open, saving 1,500 jobs, and the company's Windsor, Ontario facility will keep a third shift that was due to be cancelled.

"This is great news for our employees, our community and our buyers," said Reid Bigland, CEO of Chrysler Canada. "Demand for our minivans in the second half of 2009 has been steadily rising and this decision will allow us to meet that demand," he said.

Chrysler also confirmed that it will continue production of the legendary Dodge Viper SRT10 at the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit, which had been slated to cease production permanently in December 2009.

"The Dodge Viper has successfully captured the hearts and imagination of performance enthusiasts around the globe," said Mike Accavitti, president and CEO, Dodge Brand. "We're extremely proud that the ultimate American-built sports car with its world-class performance will live on as the iconic image leader for the Dodge brand," he said.

Introduced as a concept car in 1989 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the Dodge Viper was designed and engineered to test public reaction to the concept of a back-to-basics, high-performance, limited production sports car.

To date, more than 25,000 Dodge Vipers have been built by Chrysler.

The announcements came as Chrysler shut seven of its eight North American plants for a money-saving two-week summer hiatus, but a company official said there is new optimism about the distressed automaker's future.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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