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Chrysler suspends production for at least a m -

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Chrysler suspends production for at least a month

The World Today - Thursday, 18 December , 2008 12:30:00

Reporter: Brendan Trembath

ELEANOR HALL: To some dramatic moves in the auto sector. The cash-strapped carmaker Chrysler has
announced it will shut all its plants for at least a month. It says it is taking the drastic action
to save money as it waits for a US Government bailout.

Reporter Brendan Trembath has been watching developments and he joins us now.

So Brendan, this is a major move. How did Chrysler's executives explain the shutdown?

BRENDAN TREMBATH: It certainly is a major move - the third-biggest carmaker in the US. It says it
is suspending production because the automotive market in the United States is depressed.

Essentially there is a lack of credit for potential buyers. Chrysler says all manufacturing
operations will be idled at the end of the shift on Friday. So not shut down permanently, just
suspended. The workers won't return to work any sooner than the 19th of January.

ELEANOR HALL: But the way is left open there for a longer shutdown?

BRENDAN TREMBATH: Well, that could possibly be so because people are waiting on the United States
Government to announce whether there is a bailout for the US car industry.

ELEANOR HALL: Is there any certainty that the US Government will step in with this sort of
pressure?

BRENDAN TREMBATH: Well, it is hard to say because the latest from the White House is that a
spokesman says there is nothing new on the auto front.

What is essentially happening is the auto industry, the chief executives, have been campaigning for
some sort of federal help but there are many who have criticised that suggestion.

ELEANOR HALL: What position are Chrysler's rivals in?

BRENDAN TREMBATH: Well, if you look at some of the other big carmakers in the US - Ford for
example, it says it will also adopt a similar move and idle some of its assembly plants. They will
be idled for the first week of January.

Another one of the top auto makers in the States is General Motors and it says that a new factory
which makes engines for a type of electric car, that will be delayed and this is also an attempt to
try to save some cash.

ELEANOR HALL: Are there any implications for Australia of these US plants suspending production?

BRENDAN TREMBATH: Well, there would be some implications because some of these brands are seen on
Australian roads - Jeep for example, quite a popular vehicle here in Australia in some parts of the
market - so it may well be that over time you may see some sort of problem with the distribution to
markets including Australia.

ELEANOR HALL: Interesting, one to watch. Brendan Trembath, thank you.