Comms department at Chrysler to feel sting of layoffs

AUBURN HILLS, MI: The communications department will be effected by the layoffs announced by Chrysler this morning, Jason Vines, VP of communications at Chrysler, confirmed to PRWeek.

AUBURN HILLS, MI: The communications department will be effected by the layoffs announced by Chrysler this morning, Jason Vines, VP of communications at Chrysler, confirmed to PRWeek.

“All organizations are impacted,” Vines said. “It's just as simple as that.”

Chrysler's in-house communications staff is made up of about 50 people globally.

The automaker announced today that it plans to cut up to 12,000 jobs, or 15% of its workforce, in an effort to cut costs and match the decreasing demand for some vehicles. Chrysler said it will cut 8,500 to 10,000 hourly jobs through 2008 along with 2,100 salaried jobs. The cuts will also result in the elimination of shifts at five of its North American assembly plants as well as four models from its line-up through 2008 including the Dodge Magnum, the convertible version of Chrysler PT Cruiser, Chrysler Pacifica and Chrysler Crossfire.

Allan Nahajewski, senior manager, internal and electronic communications at Chrysler, said Chrysler employees were notified via e-mail from chairman and CEO Robert Nardelli about the layoffs an hour before an official statement was issued to the media.

In his e-mail to employees Nardelli said, “These changes are part of our continuing efforts to right-size our business for the current market and competitive environment.” He went on to say that he regrets that “short-term actions are required” for future long-term success.

“To succeed, we must align our costs with the market realities and the economic conditions we expect,” he wrote. “We must position Chrysler to return to profitability next year without pushing unprofitable volumes of product through our plants and into our dealers' showrooms or fleet.”

Nardelli also outlined the company's plan for success going forward citing three areas of concentration. They included rebuilding a strong partnership with its dealers; maintaining a “laser focus on the five business fundamentals our leadership has identified as the building blocks for success: Customer First, Quality, Go Global, Be Green, and Powered by Great People”; and execution. “We must now execute seamlessly, with a bias toward speed, a focus on the customer, and an emphasis on teamwork and achieving cross-functional goals,” he wrote to employees.

This round of layoffs follow the 13,000 layoffs, which included 11,000 production jobs and 2,000 salaried jobs, Chrysler announced this past February as part of a major restructuring strategy called the Recovery and Transformation Plan (RTP). Today's layoffs are expected to involve buyouts or early retirement packages like those made in February.

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