BELVIDERE, Ill. (WTVO) — Workers at the Belvidere Plant will soon be out of work.
Stellantis announced Friday that it will idle the plant on Feb. 28.
“Our industry has been adversely affected by a multitude of factors like the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the global microchip shortage, but the most impactful challenge is the increasing cost related to the electrification of the automotive market,” the statement reads. “This difficult but necessary action will result in indefinite layoffs, which are expected to exceed six months and may constitute a job loss under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act.”
As a result of Friday’s announcements, WARN notices have been issued to hourly and salaried employees.
“The company will make every effort to place indefinitely laid-off employees in open full-time positions as they become available,” the statement said.
A company spokesperson said Stellantis has made taken a number of actions to stabilize production and improve its efficiency at all its North American facilities to preserve affordability and customer satisfaction in terms of quality.
Stellantis says it is working to identify other opportunities to repurpose the Belvidere facility and has no additional details to share at this time.
“We are all deeply angered by Stellantis’s decision to idle the Belvidere Assembly plant without a plan for future product,” UAW Vice President and Director of the Stellantis Department Cindy Estrada said in a statement. “There are many vehicle platforms imported from other countries that could be built in Belvidere with skill and quality by UAW members at Belvidere. The transition to electrification also creates opportunities for new product. Companies like Stellantis receive billions in government incentives to transition to clean energy. It is an insult to all taxpayers that they are not investing that money back into our communities.”
The company announced a workforce reduction in May, in order to allow the plant to operate in “a more sustainable manner.”
Stellantis shut the plant down for multiple production pauses throughout the last few years as it grappled with various supply chain issues and microchip shortages that have been plaguing the automobile industry.
Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares laid out the company’s long-term strategic plan for investors in March, which called for a shift to electric vehicles worldwide within the next decade.
Beyond saying that existing plants would be modified to produce electric vehicles, Tavares did not specifically mention any plans for the Belvidere plant, which currently manufactures the Jeep Cherokee.
Illinois lawmakers passed the “Reimagining Electric Vehicles Act,” or the REV Act, a little over a year ago. It included a list of tax incentives for companies if they chose Illinois to build.
In October 2021, local lawmakers made an effort to keep the plant open by incentivizing electric vehicle manufacturing
Stellantis was formed in January 2021 from the merger of Fiat Chrysler and Groupe PSA.
Stellantis is headquartered in Amsterdam, Netherlands.