Chrysler is planning to extend the Christmas shutdown period to reduce stock levels.

Dpa-AFX reported that some plants will shut down for up to four weeks. The company has not confirmed the information that was first published in the Wall Street Journal.

In October this year Chrysler dealers were reported as saying that Chrysler's production plants were 'out of synch' wih the market.

A survey at that time found that Chrysler cars were being held for an average of 101 days on dealer lots, compared with 88 days for GM, 84 for Ford and just 26 for Toyota.

There has been speculation that DaimlerChrysler is preparing to sell off Chrysler, particularly since it announced d a third quarter operating loss of $US1.48bn. DaimlerChrysler finance director Bodo Uebber said then that the company was reviewing the situation at Chrysler internally, and would report back next year.

The Spiegel speculated that Chrysler might be split off and quoted on the stock exchange. This would make it possible for another vehicle manufacturer to take a share in Chrysler and assemble its own models in un-utilised capacity within its US plants.

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