By Jeff Gilbert

DETROIT (WWJ) – Chrysler announced on Thursday the company is investing $240 million in three Detroit area plants, adding 1,250 new jobs.

“Today is another important milestone in living up to the commitment we made more than three and a half years ago to our employees, this city, this region and our country to transform this company,” said Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne. “All of these investments are the direct result of a lot of people who have battled courageously to bring Chrysler back to a state of growth. It is our contribution toward helping southeastern Michigan get back on its feet.”

Among the investments being announced by Chrysler:

  • Mack I Engine Plant: $198 million to produce the Pentastar (V-6) engine
  • Mack I Engine Plant: adding up to 250 new jobs at Mack I, subject to market conditions
  • Trenton North Engine Plant: investing an additional $40 million to add a flexible production line that can run both the Pentastar engine and the Tigershark (I-4) engine
  • Warren Truck Assembly Plant: adding 1,000 new jobs on a third crew in March 2013 to produce the 2013 Ram 1500

Chrysler has now invested nearly $4.75 billion in U.S. facilities since its June 2009 emergence from bankruptcy.  They’ve added nearly 6,000 jobs, not counting those announced today, or jobs coming to the Toledo Jeep Plant early next year.

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“Those who still doubt the committment we made three and a half years ago to transform this company only have to come here to see how we are following thru,” said Marchionne.

Most of those new positions are “second tier” with pay roughly half of what veteran auto workers make.

“These new investments and new jobs are a testament to the determination we all had – management, labor and our workforce – to making the best of the second chance we were given in 2009,” said General Holiefield, Vice President and Director of the UAW Chrysler Department. “In partnership with the UAW, Chrysler Group is helping grow good paying manufacturing jobs and securing the future manufacturing base in this country.”

Holyfield also praised the changes that Marchionne’s leadership team has brought to Chrysler.

“He has delivered on everything we negotiated, plus,” he said. “What you heard here today, is gravy.”

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, who is trying to bring a similar turnaround to his city, was also at the ceremony, and took note of the progress Chrysler has made.

“If Chrysler can do what they have done, there’s no doubt in my mind that those of us in leadership posiitions in the City of Detroit will use you as the poster child to bring Detroit back.”

The new jobs come as the result of a growing changing pickup truck market, and the strong debut of the new Ram pickup. More truck buyers want the more fuel efficient six cylinder engines that will soon be build at Mack Avenue Engine 1.

“Our biggest headache this year has been the shortage of 3.6-liter engines,” said Marchionne. “So, we’e struggled with production. We just can’t make enough. I’m not sure this expansion will take us what we need to do. So, we may have to top this up in a couple off years.”

Connect with Jeff Gilbert
Twitter: @jefferygilbert

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