To try to cut stocks of vehicles, Chrysler USA is set to close seven of its factories in the US and Canada for seven days. This is another sign of the pressures facing the Chrysler, the American arm of DamilerChrysler AG.

Around 20,000 workers will be idled, but they will receive 95 percent of their regular pay under union contracts.

The move comes while sales of Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles have recently become erratic, with several models posting large declines.

The plants include the Warren truck; St. Louis Assembly North in Fenton, Mo.; Newark, N.J.; Belvidere, Ill.; the Jeep Wrangler plant in Toledo, Ohio; and two plants in Bramalea and Windsor, Ontario.

DaimlerChrysler spokesman Trevor Hale said the announcement was not related to the poor third quarter financial results DaimlerChrysler reported last week, but a move to cut the number of unsold vehicles.

While U.S. car sales for the year to September were up 5%, DaimlerChrysler's car sales, excluding Mercedes-Benz, were down 11%, and its truck sales are flat.

At the beginning of October, according to Ward's Automotive Reports, it had a 71 day supply of cars. The industry standard is 60 days.

Ward's said the company had a 63-day supply of trucks, but that figure includes the popular Chrysler PT Cruiser, which is in short supply; it is also estimated that Chrysler had a 97 day supply of Dakota pickups and an 82 day supply of Ram trucks.