In other Chrysler news, Reuters reports the company may fall short of its target of getting 10,000 U.S. factory workers to accept buyouts or early retirement, raising the prospect the automaker will have to increase its offers, a senior union official said. "I don't think we will get quite 10,000," said General Holiefield, a United Auto Workers vice president. "With the economy the way it is, people are trying to hold on to what they have ... Jobs are not that easy to find."
The comments were the latest indication the Detroit-based automakers are finding fewer takers for their most recent round of buyouts and early retirement offers, even as pressure mounts on the companies to cut costs amid slumping U.S. sales.
Chrysler's larger rivals Ford Motor Co (NYSE:F - News) and General Motors Corp (NYSE:GM - News) are offering buyouts to all of their UAW-represented workers. Chrysler has made its offers on a plant-by-plant basis as it aims to cut 8,500 and 10,000 hourly jobs this year.
U.S. auto sales are down by 7 percent for the first two months of this year compared with the same period last year. Analysts expect full-year sales to drop to the lowest level in a decade at 15.5 million vehicles, with some cautioning that the bottom could be lower if the economy slips into recession.