VW and Chrysler News…

So long, it was a groovy ride. Volkswagen will halt production of those fun looking two-toned VW van that was the unofficial ride for many Hippies in the 1960s and ’70s on Dec. 31. For some of us here in the states, seeing one of those is a rare and pleasant sight, evoking road trip memories or drives to the beach, but Brazil was the last place that these vans were being made.

In other car news, Chrysler announced today that it temporarily halted production of the 2014 Jeep Cherokee, laying off 500 workers at a Toledo, Ohio plant. Chrysler said it built a sufficient number of 2014 Cherokees there. According to a spokesperson they will temporarily halt the second shift, which they added on Aug. 19 to help build that model.

Chrysler is also reluctantly preparing for an IPO, after failing to reach an agreement on the price of the stock with the trust that owns it. It’s owned by a United Auto Workers-run trust that pays health care for about 130,000 retirees. This trust owns a 41.5 percent stake in Chrysler.

Chrysler shares haven’t been publicly traded since 1998, when the company merged with Daimler AG. It is now majority owned by Italian automaker Fiat SpA. CEO Sergio Marchionne, the CEO of both Fiat and Chrysler, wanted to buy up the UAW’s share and combine Fiat and Chrysler, but both sides couldn’t agree on a price.