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Chrysler to close Calif. design studio

DETROIT, March 8 (UPI) -- Chrysler LLC will close its auto design studio in Carlsbad, Calif., a company spokesman said.

Chrysler's impending closure of what's known as the West Coast Pacifica Design Studio is aimed at saving the automaker money, The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday.

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Chrysler spokesman David Barnas said the company is consolidating its design efforts at its headquarters in Auburn Hills, Mich.

The California-based team, he said, "remains an integral part of our future design efforts" and will continue to be led by Senior Vice President Trevor Creed.

Chrysler's new chief executive, Robert Nardelli, reportedly is working to free up money to reinvest in the business and reduce the need for majority owner Cerberus Capital Management LP to funnel more money into the company.

The newspaper also reported Chrysler also wants to sell an engineering facility in Detroit and other properties near its Michigan headquarters.

"Increasingly, we are leveraging resources worldwide, forming new joint ventures and alliances and consolidating operations in order to better achieve global balance and manage fixed costs," Barnas said. "These moves are designed to help Chrysler become a more globally focused manufacturer, and will also enable the company to become leaner, sized for a smaller market."

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