400 layoffs due at Jeep plant near Rockford

Stellantis, owner of the Jeep brand, is facing slow sales for the Cherokee model along with a lack of microchips.

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The Belvidere Assembly Plant, where the Jeep Cherokee is produced, as seen in 2019.

Stellantis, owner of the Jeep brand, plans to lay off 400 workers in January.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

The Jeep plant in Belvidere, struggling with reduced demand for its Cherokee model, is facing a layoff of 400 people.

Stellantis, owner of the Jeep brand, said the layoffs will take effect starting Jan. 14, 2022. Spokeswoman Jodi Tinson said 400 people out of a total workforce of about 2,100 will be cut.

Adhering to Illinois law dealing with mass layoffs, the company said it provided a 60-day notice of its decision to employees and the state last week. “The company will make every effort to place laid-off hourly employees in open full-time positions as they become available based on seniority,” a Stellantis statement said.

A drop in sales for the Cherokee, a situation compounded by the global shortage of microchips, has forced the company to adjust operations in Belvidere, which is near Rockford. It cut its schedule from two daily shifts to one in July, then shut the plant entirely from Aug. 30 to Nov. 1.

Data for the third quarter showed that sales of the Cherokee were off 72% compared with the same period a year ago, to 11,592 units. Year-to-date, Cherokee sales were down 20%, to 78,750 units.

The plant’s hourly workers are members of the United Auto Workers union.

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