German-based DaimlerChrysler announced Wednesday that over the next two years, it will cut 13,000 jobs at its North American operations, or roughly 16 percent of the current total at Chrysler Group. The reductions will include 2,000 salaried employees and 11,000 hourly workers, 9,000 in the United States and 2,000 in Canada.
The company will also shut down its Newark, Delaware, assembly plant as part of an effort to reduce Chrysler’s annual production capacity by 400,000 units.
According to the Associated Press, on Wednesday Chrysler posted a $1.5 billion operating loss for 2006, compared with a $2 billion profit a year earlier. The company hopes to save $4.5 billion through these new efforts and return to a $3 billion profit by 2009, the AP noted.
The wire service also observed that despite the decline at Chrysler Group, its German parent reported net income of $4.3 billion for 2006, up from $3.8 billion a year earlier.
That disparity has fueled widespread speculation that the German organization might part ways with its American unit, which it acquired in 1998.
DaimlerChrysler chairman Dieter Zetsche asserted in a press release that the company is “looking into further strategic options with partners,” adding, “we do not exclude any option in order to find the best solution for both the Chrysler Group and DaimlerChrysler.”