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Chrysler plans to idle two more plants for two weeks in January

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Chrysler LLC is planning to idle two additional plants, including one in Canada, for two weeks in January in the latest example of an auto maker using production cuts instead of incentives to control inventory amid slumping demand.

The auto maker will temporarily shut its Jefferson North plant in Detroit and its Windsor, Ont., plant starting Jan. 14, according to a person familiar with the plans who requested anonymity because they weren't authorized to publicly discuss the matter.

Jefferson North, home to the Jeep Commander and Grand Cherokee, and the Windsor factory, which makes the Dodge and Chrysler minivans, are currently scheduled to shut for two weeks, according to the source.

Chrysler previously made plans to temporarily halt production at pickup truck plants in Warren, Mich., and Fenton, Mo., right before Christmas and through January. A third truck plant in Mexico is scheduled to shut down for the first two weeks of January.

Industry sales of SUVs and pickup trucks are generally slumping, but Chrysler recently introduced refreshed versions of its minivans, which also are produced at a plant near St. Louis, Mo.

Idling production of the Windsor minivan plant could be a sign that Auburn Hills, Mich.-based Chrysler senses slowing demand for one of its key products.

Chrysler, along with rivals Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp., are choosing to idle plants to adjust to falling consumer demand so they can avoid stockpiling vehicles. Large inventories traditionally force the auto makers to offer incentives to sell vehicles.

U.S. auto sales are expected to remain weak into 2008 as manufacturers of cars and light trucks have been stung by high fuel prices and the pressures felt by consumers from declining real-estate values.

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Chrysler plans to idle two more plants for two weeks in January
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