COLUMBUS, IN – Cummins Inc. will temporarily close its Columbus MidRange Engine Plant (CMEP) in Walesboro, just outside Columbus, in response to Chrysler's decision to idle its manufacturing operations during the bankruptcy reorganization, according to Cummins.

CMEP is the sole manufacturing site for the 6.7L turbo diesel engine used in the heavy-duty Dodge Ram pickup truck. The plant will close effective May 15 and remain down until Chrysler resumes pickup truck production.

Chrysler's Dodge Ram manufacturing plant in Saltillo, Mexico, which closed May 4, is expected to be idle for at least four weeks. Chrysler has indicated its entire manufacturing operation could remain closed for nine weeks or longer, according to Cummins.

The shutdown affects a total of approximately 690 workers at CMEP. Cummins will layoff approximately 610 hourly workers — 560 members of the Diesel Workers Union and 50 members of the Office Committee Union. The company plans to redeploy as many of the 80 exempt employees in the plant as possible throughout its Southern Indiana operations.

The last work day for most of the hourly employees at CMEP will be May 13. A small staff will be retained through the end of May to complete the shutdown process.

"The engines we produce for Chrysler make up virtually all the demand at CMEP, and without the Chrysler production it is not economically feasible to operate the plant," said Jim Kelly, president of the Engine Business. "At the same time, the Dodge Ram is a valuable part of Chrysler's product portfolio, and the Cummins turbo diesel engine for the heavy-duty pickup has been a key part of the Ram's success for more than two decades. We are hopeful that once Chrysler emerges from its reorganization, demand for our award-winning engine will return."

Originally posted on Automotive Fleet