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Chrysler plans $374-million transmissions investment

Keywords: Tags  Chrysler Group, Sergio Marchionne, investments, transmission plant, Getrag Transmission Manufacturing, Ken Lortz, United Auto Workers, Corinna Petry

CHICAGO — Chrysler Group LLC will invest nearly $374 million to boost its transmission production in Indiana, adding about 1,250 jobs.

The Auburn Hills, Mich.-based automaker will put $212 million into its Kokomo Transmission, Kokomo Casting and Indiana Transmission I plants, installing additional tooling and equipment to produce eight- and nine-speed transmissions, chairman and chief executive officer Sergio Marchionne announced. Work on the three facilities is scheduled to begin in the second quarter, with equipment and tooling to be installed in the fourth quarter.

Chrysler also plans to spend $162 million to build an additional assembly line for nine-speed transmissions at its site in Tipton, Ind., with production scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2014.

Chrysler acquired the Tipton land and building from Getrag Transmission Manufacturing LLC, with which it planned a $530-million transmission plant back in 2007. However, construction was halted in mid-2008 as the two companies were working out a supply agreement, and Getrag filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection that November, citing Chrysler’s termination of contractual agreements related to the factory.

"These new investments and new jobs are a testament to the determination we all had—management, labor and our work force—to making the best of the second chance we were given in 2009," United Auto Workers regional director Ken Lortz said in a statement, referring to the taxpayer bailout that helped keep the company solvent.

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