The Auto Recovery Rolls On as Chrysler Adds 268 Jobs
Unemployment has returned to above 9 percent, gas prices continue to plague Americans, but Detroit stands out as a unique source of positive vibrations. On June 16, Chrysler announced that it will add 268 jobs and invest $114 million to reopen part of an engine plant closed in May last year.
The Downriver plant in Trenton, Mich., is going to be retrofitted for construction of components for Chrysler's new Pentastar engine. First presented at the 2009 New York Auto Show, the Pentastar is to be all-aluminum, and is making its debut in the 2011 Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep.
"This investment has also given Trenton North, which has been building engines for nearly 60 years, a new lease on life," says Brian Harlow, Chrysler's vice president and head of powertrain manufacturing.
Trenton is in Wayne County, where the auto capital, Detroit, also is located.
According to Chrysler's website, the plant once employed as many as 579 people.
While a return to the glory days of Motown is still a far off goal, this announcement of new jobs comes on the heels of the news earlier this month that Uncle Sam was severing ties with the auto giant. Washington, which bailed out Chrysler along with GM in 2009, agreed to a deal with Fiat to sell its remaining interest in the automaker for $500 million.
In cutting ties with Chrysler, the federal government will be agreeing to eat roughly $1.3 billion, with the remainder of the initial $12.5 billion loan to be repaid in full by Chrysler.
"We didn't do this to maximize return. We did it to save jobs," Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said in April. Much of Detroit's turnaround has been chalked up to its renovation of its line. And among those shifts is the transition from the classic V6 engine to the Pentastar.
Yet all is not rosy in Chryslerland. On the day it announced the new jobs, Chrysler issued a recall of 11,351 vehicles exhibiting problems with steering capability.
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