September 24, 2009

Chrysler plans to rehire some designers

U.S. automaker Chrysler Group has tentative plans to rehire salaried workers and ask some to put in overtime, sources close to the company said.

The plan is not final, but Chrysler Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne intends to present options in a five-year strategy he will unveil to the company's board Friday, the Detroit Free Press reported Thursday.

Sources did not specify how many jobs would be restored. In the past two years, Chrysler has cut 35,000 jobs and gone through reorganization after bankruptcy proceedings.

Fiat SpA of Italy emerged as owners of 20 percent of the company.

Marchionne intends to re-make at least five models, including the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Caravan -- both minivans.

Other models with face lifts planned are the Dodge Caliber, Jeep Compass, the Jeep Patriot and the PT Cruiser, the newspaper said.

Marchionne knows they have to have something new as soon as possible, and 18 months is ... reasonable, said Jim Hall, managing director of 2953 Analytics.