A multimillion dollar renovation planned for DaimlerChrysler AG's Jefferson North assembly plant begins this week as the automaker prepares to launch a redesigned Jeep Grand Cherokee.
The improvements at Jefferson North are part of a broader effort by DaimlerChrysler's Chrysler Group to make its assembly plants more flexible and match Japanese rivals on productivity and efficiency, The Detroit News reported.
A majority of the 2,700 affected workers were given temporary layoff notices last week and will be off the job for three weeks while the automaker revamps the plant. While idled, workers will collect 95 percent of their pay.
Employees will return in phases after the shutdown, with all back on the job by late July, when production of the 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee begins. The 2005 Grand Cherokee is the first redesign of the rugged sport utility vehicle in six years.