Reporting Jeff Gilbert
DETROIT (WWJ/AP) - Chrysler is planning to make its mark on downtown Detroit, confirming that it will move 70 marketing executives into what had been known as the Dime Building.
“Detroit is the place that we feel at home,” said CEO Sergio Marchionne. That is why we’re proud to say that, from now on, this building is going to be known as Chrysler House.”
Marchionne will be among the Chrysler employees who have an office in the 33 thousand square feet that the company will lease from Rock Ventures, owned by Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert.
“It’s a very exciting day here in Detroit, the newest company to be imported into the city, and downtown, Chrysler,” he said. “This is the first time in history that Chrysler is going to have an actual presence, and their office space in downtown.”
Chrysler is the largest industrial employer in the city of Detroit, with four thousand workers at Detroit facilities. The largest of those facilities, Jefferson North Assembly, received some good news also.
“Customer demand for the production being built at Jefferson is so strong that the plant will work through the normal summer shutdown this year,” said Marchionne.
The products being made at that plant include the Dodge Dakota and Jeep Grand Cherokee. The addition of a diesel version of the Grand Cherokee was going to mean a third shift—and about 1100 new workers—would be added to the plant next year.
That timetable, says Marchionne, is being accelerated.
“I’m delighted to confirm today that we’ll actually add these jobs and, and a third shift, in November of this year.”
Chrysler has featured the city of Detroit prominently in its last two Super Bowl ads. Marchionne says they started serious discussions about having a downtown presence shortly after the 2011 “Imported from Detroit” ad ran.
He encouraged other companies to do the same thing.
“We owe a lot to this city. I think people should follow our example in getting this done.”
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