Chrysler plans to invest $374 million and add 1,250 jobs to two factories in Indiana producing 8- and 9-speed transmissions.
At Chrysler’s existing Kokomo Transmission, Kokomo Casting and Indiana Transmission I, the auto maker will invest $212 million in tooling and add 400 jobs. Eight-speed transmissions used in Chrysler’s rear-wheel-drive vehicles are produced there. The transmissions currently are used in the Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee.
At the newly christened Tipton Transmission Plant, a former Getrag facility the auto maker purchased last year, Chrysler is investing $162 million and adding 850 new jobs for 9-speed transmissions to be used in forthcoming front-wheel-drive vehicles.
Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has said the successor to the Chrysler 200 and the new Jeep Cherokee will be the first vehicles to use the 9-speeds.
Investments and hiring at all facilities are subject to market conditions, Chrysler says.
Once slated for closure after the auto maker’s 2009 bankruptcy, the Indiana transmission plants have been central to Chrysler’s rebound.
Extensive retooling began last year with the implementation of advanced technology to reduce safety risks and increase ergonomics, as well as prepare for the impending boom of the ZF-supplied 8- and 9-speed transmissions.
Kokomo currently builds 6-, 5- and 4-speed transmissions, with an output of about 6,000 units daily.
“Our investments in Kokomo and Tipton are a tribute to the character of the men and women of Chrysler who survived a near-fatal experience and have embraced the challenge of building an enterprise that is able to compete with the best in the world,” Marchionne says in a news release. “Our powertrain team has consistently demonstrated the ability and the willingness to think in unconventional ways in order to exceed expectations.”
Work on the Kokomo sites begins in this year’s second quarter with production ramp-up starting in the fourth quarter, while output begins at the Tipton plant in first-quarter 2014.