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Bankruptcy will delay Chrysler's 2010 model launches, exec says

Mon, 04 May 2009 00:00:00 -0700

Chrysler LLC will be late getting its 2010 vehicles to market because of the automaker's Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, Chrysler manufacturing chief Frank Ewasyshyn testified today.

The current shutdown of plants and stresses on suppliers also threaten to delay the 2011 models next year, Ewasyshyn said.

The changeover to 2010 models is delayed while Chrysler tries to emerge from bankruptcy within the next 30 to 60 days, he said.

Once Chrysler returns to production, planned as an alliance with Fiat S.p.A., the new company will have to finish assembling the many vehicles, engines and parts now partially built in Chrysler factories, Ewasyshyn said.

That and readying for the new models will delay 2010 launches. Those typically take place shortly after a July shutdown to change tooling for the new vehicles.

Ewasyshyn said the smooth launch of 2011 models also is jeopardized.

Some suppliers are balking at sending the tooling and parts that need to be validated now in order to build the 2011 models. He was testifying in support of the bankruptcy court allowing Chrysler to pay suppliers for the nearly $1.71 billion that Chrysler owes them for parts already shipped.

By David Barkholz