Local media reports say that DaimlerChrysler is apparently planning to move vehicle production from Graz back to the US due to currency problems.
Under a contract with Magna Steyr, assembly of the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Chrysler Voyager is presently undertaken in Graz. But Chrysler chief Dieter Zetsche said in a U.S. interview a withdrawal was being considered. The reason was the weakness of the dollar, making production in Europe very expensive.
Magna has indicated surprise at Zetsche’s comments and said that under the existing contract, the Grand Cherokee would anyway carry on being assembled in Austria until 2009 inclusive, and the Voyager until the end of 2006.
According to the newspaper Standard, the total number of workers at the assembly plants was 9.000. Last year they assembled 70,000 vehicles of the two models.
The newspaper Die Presse said it was the first serious blow for the Magna concern after years of continuous growth. This year alone, the ccompany has doubled its capacities in Graz from 100,000 to 200,000 vehicles.