Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will invest $400 million to convert an idled transmission plant in Kokomo, IN, to build the GMET4 engine, a turbocharged 2.0L I-4 that is offered on the Jeep Wrangler and Jeep Cherokee.
The repurposed Indiana Transmission Plant II, to be renamed Kokomo Engine Plant, will be the source of all U.S. production for the GMET4 now built in Termoli, Italy. Production is expected to begin in second-quarter 2021.
The investment means 1,000 jobs will be retained and nearly 200 added, bringing total FCA employment in the state to more than 8,300, the automaker says in a news release.
“The GMET4 will be a very important engine for us as we look to deliver on the promises we made as part of our five-year plan in 2018,” says Mark Stewart, FCA North America chief operating officer.
“While the 2.0L is a current engine option on the Jeep Wrangler and Cherokee models, a significant number of new technologies can be applied to this engine, making it relevant for the future,” he says. “It will play an important role in our plans to offer electric engine options across 30 nameplates that FCA will bring to markets around the world by 2022.”
FCA has built transmissions in Indiana for more than eight decades and has invested nearly $2 billion in its four plants producing 8- and 9-speed transmissions, but the launch of GMET4 production will mark the first time the automaker has built engines in the state.
Construction of Indiana Transmission Plant II began in 2002, and production of 5-speed gearboxes launched in November 2003. The plant also produced components for 8-speed transmissions. It built its last 5-speed transmission in August 2018 and was idled last fall.
FCA continues to operate three transmission plants and one casting plant in Indiana. The transmission factories manufacture 4-, 6-, 8- and 9-speed gearboxes, as well as the SiEVT transmission for the Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid electric minivan built at the Windsor Assembly Plant in Ontario, Canada. The casting plant produces aluminum parts for automotive components, transmission and transaxle cases, and engine block castings.
FCA says it has committed to invest more than $14 billion in its U.S. manufacturing operations, creating nearly 30,000 new jobs since June 2009.