Stellantis-owned Jeep is going to cease its production and lay off around 1,000 workers. It appears that the automaker is cutting costs before the EV transition within the company. The plan to lay off employees was not announced during the electrification announcement earlier this year. Also, the halt of the production facility was also not stated earlier.
As stated in CNBC, the Jeep Belvidere Plant currently produces the Jeep Cherokee mid-size SUV, a vehicle that has been hit particularly hard this year as sales have plummeted by over 60%. At first, this resulted in simple cuts in shifts at the facility, but it will now result in a complete halt in production. Stellantis calls the move “difficult but necessary” as it battles with increased costs as it transitions to producing electric vehicles.
As a response, the United Auto Workers (UAW) president has responded with a statement calling the layoffs “unacceptable.” And while the president’s statement included that the union will engage in talks with the automaker, it is unclear if anything can be done to save the jobs of over 1,000 people ahead of the holiday season.
During the brand’s 4xe event, the transition to electric vehicles was announced. It was where they showed off the upcoming Jeep Recon (an off-roader similar to the gas-powered Wrangler), the Jeep Avenger crossover SUV that will be available in Europe, and the Jeep Wagoneer EV that will be coming in roughly two years.
Ironically, while the company is struggling to keep workers on the payroll, other brands transitioning to electric vehicles or already selling EVs are vastly expanding job opportunities. Ford, for instance, has gone on a hiring spree as they look to open and expand production facilities in Kentucky and Tennessee. Tesla has also seen a wave of hiring as the company pushes for a strong end of the year. Four new Jeep all-electric vehicles will be launched into key markets, including North America and Europe by 2025. The plans were unveiled overnight as the Jeep brand announced all the details around their EV plans for the future with a goal to transform the lineup.
Automakers are moving towards electric vehicles. However, it is also changing how people work within an organization. The layoffs continue irrespective of whether it is an automobile company or a tech company. On the other side, the hiring process is also increasing, so it is hopefully not just the downside. Only as the automakers are shifting towards EVs, new challenges are coming up.