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Chrysler to add jobs, investment in Indiana plant

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Chrysler to add jobs, investment in Indiana plant

Alisa Priddle / The Detroit News

About 400 jobs will be added at Chrysler Group LLC's casting and transmission plants in Kokomo, Ind., as part of a $43 million investment announced today.

Of the new positions, as many as 379 will be recalls of laid-off Chrysler workers and 20 new hires will be for supervisory positions, the company said.

Chrysler is investing in new equipment and tooling to expand capacity to supply the automaker's four-cylinder engines made in Dundee, and upgrade a transmission used in the Chrysler Sebring and Town & Country, as well as the Dodge Avenger, Journey and Grand Caravan.

"As Chrysler Group works to implement the very robust business plan outlined on Nov. 4, 2009, our facilities in Kokomo will play an integral role in achieving those objectives," said Scott Garberding, Senior Vice President in charge of manufacturing. "This investment will keep our facilities at the forefront of innovation and advanced technology."

The expansion was supported by a tax abatement from the city of Kokomo.

"Over the past several years, Chrysler has shown a continued commitment to investing in Kokomo, allowing our plants to stay on the cutting edge of automotive technology," Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight said in a statement. "This investment is great news for Chrysler, and it's great news for our community."

Since forming a partnership with Fiat SpA last June, Chrysler has accelerated plans for engines and transmissions designed to make its cars and trucks more fuel efficient while reducing emissions. In addition to Fiat's expertise in smaller engines, the Italian automaker brings Multiair and turbocharging engine technologies, as well as a dual-clutch transmission to be rolled out across the Chrysler lineup.

In December, Chrysler announced a $179 million investment in the Dundee engine plant to add production of a 1.4-liter Fiat engine that will be used in the Fiat 500 subcompact when it goes on sale at the end of the year. Dundee already makes larger, four-cylinder engines for the Jeep Compass and Patriot as well as the Sebring, Avenger, Caliber and Journey.

This latest investment brings to nearly $1 billion the amount Chrysler has spent in powertrain operations since 2007.

Prior to the alliance with Fiat, Chrysler decided to replace its various V-6 engine families with one, known as the Pentastar engine, representing a $730 million investment. Production of the V-6 in a new engine plant in Trenton began in March; its first application is in the all-new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee that began production in Detroit this week for sale in mid-June.

On Monday, Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said he expects the automaker will build 800,000 Pentastar engines annually, half in the U.S. and half in the Saltillo, Mexico, engine plant.

From The Detroit News: http://www.detnews.com/article/20100511/AUTO01/5110389/1148/Chrysler-to-add-jobs--investment-in-Indiana-plant#ixzz0ndrTb5nU

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