According to published reports, the Chatam plant is building more heavy trucks than it has orders for. In a worst-case scenario, Navistar could lay off as many as 500 of the plant's 2,200 employees in March.
The company will monitor the market during the next six weeks and expects to decide on a new production schedule by mid-February.
The Canadian Auto Workers union says while it does expect some layoffs because of a downward trend in projected truck sales, it sees 500 layoffs as highly unlikely. "Between now and March the order board could pick up substantially," said Joe McCabe of the CAW.
Navistar is predicting that demand for trucks this year will drop to 245,000 from the record 286,000 sold in 1999.