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Stellantis will lay off an unspecified number of factory workers in the coming months

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Jeep maker Stellantis is planning to lay off an unspecified number of workers at its U.S. factories in the coming months to deal with a rapidly changing global auto market, the company said Tuesday.

The statement comes as the company faces increased capital spending to make the transition from gasoline vehicles to electric autos. It also has reported declining U.S. sales in the first quarter, and it has higher costs due to a new contract agreement reached last year with the United Auto Workers union. Stellantis has about 43,000 factory workers.

"These actions will help improve productivity and ensure the company's long-term sustainability in a rapidly changing global market," the Stellantis statement said.

READ: U.S. Q1 auto sales up by nearly 5% despite high interest rates, but EV growth slows further

The company wouldn't give details of when the indefinite layoffs would start or state specific reasons for them, but the trade publication Automotive News reported Monday that Stellantis had laid off 199 full-time workers at its Ram pickup truck factory in Sterling Heights, Michigan.

The company also has laid off some white-collar workers this year.

Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares has said his company has to work on cutting costs globally in order to keep electric vehicles affordable for the middle class. Electric vehicles, he has said, cost about 40% more than those powered by gasoline. Without cost reductions, EVs will be too expensive for the middle class, shrinking the market and driving costs up more, Tavares has said.

Stellantis reported that its vehicle sales were down nearly 10% from January through March compared with a year earlier.

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