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Sun 22 Feb 2009 01:18 PM

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Axe won’t fall on Mideast workers - Chrysler

US-based automotive company sees no need to downsize an already small workforce

Chrysler has no plans to axe workers in the Middle East even if the economic downturn worsens, the automotive company said on Sunday.

A spokesperson for the US carmaker told Arabian Business that with only 20 people in this region, Chrysler sees no need to downsize an already small workforce.

“It just depends on how the situation goes; we are living in troubled times right now, but as of now we are not going to lay off anyone,” the spokesperson said.

“To be honest, I don’t see anything happening in the foreseeable future. We are a very lean organisation in the Middle East and we don’t have too many people in the office.”

On Feb 18, Chrysler vice president of international sales Thomas Hausch said layoffs were unlikely – but he refused to rule out any future cuts. Hausch, who was visiting Dubai, also revealed a recruitment freeze for the global company is in place.

In 2008, Chrysler sold more than 14,500 cars across the Middle East and Levant – a slight increase compared to 12,500 the previous year.

Despite rising sales in the Middle East, Chrysler is one of several global automotive companies suffering amid the economic crisis. The company will receive 13.4bn from the US government to keep it “viable”, but wants additional funding to secure its future.

The company recently announced plans to shed 47,000 workers this year. It’s understood that among them, 25 percent of Chrysler’s white-collar workers have already been axed.

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