On March 1, about 1,350 people did not return to work in Belvidere at the Stellantis Assembly Plant, which until that point had been a main producer of Jeep Cherokees, among other models. Last December, when this pause was first announced, Stellantis declared it was idling with the hope to repurpose the plant; however, at this time, there are no plans to reopen. Currently, the company has said that the workers will be laid off indefinitely.

This factory has served as a critical part of Belvidere’s economy since the 1960s. Its importance in local economy means that in addition to the jobs lost at the plant, 400 jobs at different companies who supplied the plant have also been cut. Already some former employees of the plant have relocated while those remaining are left unsure as to the town’s future.

Stellantis cites the government’s recent push for electric vehicles, effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the microchip shortage, and Illinois’ high taxes as the main reasons for its departure. At this time, no mention has been made of where the production location for the next-generation Jeep Cherokee will be located since the Belvidere plant closed.

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