Ohio plant making new Cherokee idles 500 workers

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — About 500 workers have been temporarily laid off from a northwest Ohio plant that produces the new Jeep Cherokee.

Transmission reprogramming and extra test-driving delayed shipment of the vehicles, and inventory from the Toledo facility has accumulated, so some second-shift workers have been idled. The layoffs are expected to last about two weeks.

The local union president, Bruce Baumhower, says the test-driving of each vehicle doesn’t mean there’s a problem with the new Cherokee. He says it’s simply a sign of extra caution for a complex launch of a vehicle with a new transmission and other systems.

Chrysler says it has built the number of Cherokees it needs to stock dealerships initially once testing is complete. It still plans to have the vehicles at dealerships by the end of September.

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