Rockford, Illinois News

Belvidere Chrysler plant to shut down for 3 weeks

BELVIDERE — Belvidere Assembly Pant will temporarily shut down for three weeks starting Monday, March 29, because of a computer chip shortage.

The pause will be the plant’s second this year. The plant shut down for a week in February, also because of a chip shortage.

The Belvidere Assembly Plant onstructed in 1964-65. The first car was produced on July 7, 1965. The product line from 1965 to 1977 included the Plymouth and Dodge two-door and four-door models, and station wagons, and the Chrysler Town & Country station wagon. In 1977, the plant was converted to front-wheel drive production. From 1978-1987, the product lines included Plymouth Horizon and Dodge Omni.

In 1987, the plant underwent a $367-million, state-of-the-art, 16-week model changeover to produce the Chrysler New Yorker and Dodge Dynasty, the company’s full-size, front-wheel-drive, four-door sedans. Two years later, the plant underwent a $72-million model changeover for production of 1990 models that included the Chrysler Imperial and New Yorker Salon.

In 1994, the plant was converted to produce the Plymouth and Dodge Neon. Production of the Neon ended in September 2005. The Dodge Caliber was launched in December 2005, followed by the Jeep Compass in May 2006 and Jeep Patriot in December 2006. The last Dodge Caliber rolled off the line on Dec. 19, 2011. Production of the Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot ended on Dec. 23, 2016.

In October 2010, the Chrysler announced that it would invest $600 million to support the production of future models in 2012. The investment included the construction of a 638,000-square-foot body shop, as well as the installation of new machinery, tooling and material handling equipment.

On Feb. 2, 2012, the company announced that the original $600 million investment had increased to $700 million and that the plant would add 1,800 jobs by the third quarter of 2012, which included nearly 500 for production of the all-new Dodge Dart. The 3-2-120 operating pattern — three crews working four 10-hour days on two shifts for 120 production hours per week — was implemented on July 23, 2012.

In January 2012, the Dodge Dart was revealed at the North American International Auto Show, showcasing the combined engineering and technologies of Chrysler Group and Fiat. Production of the Dart began on April 30, 2012, and ended on Oct. 4, 2016.

FCA announced on July 14, 2016, that it would invest $350 million in Belvidere Assembly to produce the Jeep Cherokee, which will move from its current production location in Toledo, Ohio, in 2017 and create approximately 300 new jobs. Cherokee production began on June 1, 2017. The plant returned to a two shift operating pattern on May 6, 2019.