Detroit — Teh Chrysler Corporation, faced with mounting losses and the threat of bankruptcy, said it was slowing down production of the much-heralded K-cars on which it has based its hopes of survival. Sales of the fuel-efficient, front-wheel-drive K-car, hailed as Chrysler's savior when it was launched in October, have been hurt by surging interest rates in the last two months.
The company said it would lay off 2,880 workers at its K-car plants in Detroit and Newark, Del., when assembly lines start up again on Jan. 12 after the Christmas-New Year break.
The United Automobile Workers has agreed to reopen contract talks for Chrysler's 60,000 hourly workers. But UAW president Douglas Fraser made it clear the union was not prepared to go all the way in meeting the demand for a wage freeze until the end of the contract in September 1982.