(Reuters) – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV said on Thursday it will eliminate one shift at its Windsor, Ontario, assembly plant where it builds minivans, resulting in the loss of 1,500 jobs.
The Italian-American automaker said in a statement the elimination of the shift, which will take effect on Sept. 30, was to address slowing global demand.
The company said it would offer retirement packages to eligible employees and attempt to place indefinitely laid off hourly employees in open full-time positions. Earlier this week, Canadian media outlets reported Fiat Chrysler would idle the plant for two weeks in April, the third time this year the plant has been temporarily closed.
The company has sold more than 12 million minivans, since being introduced by Chrysler in 1983. It sold more than 500,000 a year by the early 1990s.
Over the last decade, sales have shrunk as many automakers stopped building minivans altogether and more U.S. buyers gravitated towards sport utility vehicles.
Last year, Fiat Chrysler sold 270,000 Chrysler Pacifica and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans in the United States. Through February, the company’s U.S. minivan sales have fallen by about 25 percent.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Leslie Adler)