TOLEDO (WWJ/AP) – Chrysler says it will invest $1.7 billion and add 1,100 jobs on a new second shift to allow an Ohio assembly complex to build a new Jeep sport utility vehicle.
The automaker said Wednesday that includes $500 million to expand its Toledo assembly plant and add a body shop.
Chrysler Group LLC sought millions to enlarge the plant, adding the new shift by late 2013. The automaker has about 1,800 employees at the plant.
Chrysler Group Chairman and CEO Sergio Marchionne said the next generation Jeep SUV will replace the Liberty, perhaps returning the Cherokee model name.
“It’s the biggest segment of the SUV market in the United States, and it’s going to be used as the exporting base for the Jeep internationally,” said Marchionne. “So, it may not even be enough.”
While tax incentives helped make the expansion possible, Marchionne also credited the work of plant employees in making the decision.
New jobs at the plant is obviously good news for Toledo, yet, residents of that city, talking to WWJ Newsradio 950’s Ron Dewey Wednesday morning, seemed skeptical.
Gary Thomas has more of a “wait-and-see” attitude.
“All that money’s been invested in that plant over there and we really don’t know for sure if it’s been successful,” said Thomas. “It seems that there’s been a couple of different attempts to get it going and take off and do good, but … sure hope it does.”
“They don’t fill out as many jobs as they say they’re gonna do,” said another man.
After hearing big promises and little follow through from previous Chrysler ownership, people seemed to be cautiously optimistic at best.
“After 31 years, to lose everything … I don’t know. I just hope for these younger kids it will work out,” one former auto worker said.
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