Chrysler Group LLC announced that it will invest $600 million in its Belvidere (Ill.) Assembly Plant to support the production of future models in 2012, increasing its investments in U.S. facilities to $2.1 billion since the formation of the new company in June 2009.
The investment includes the construction of a 638,000 square-foot body shop as well as the installation of new machinery, tooling and material handling equipment. Work on the expansion began this summer and will be completed in 2011.
"We want to thank Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, Illinois Congressman Don Manzullo and Belvidere Mayor Frederic Brereton for working with us to make this investment possible," said Scott Garberding, Senior Vice President and Head of Manufacturing, Chrysler Group LLC. "With their help, the Belvidere Assembly Plant will be expanded and retooled in order to build the next generation of vehicles that will meet the needs of our customers.
"More importantly, this investment recognizes the support of the UAW and the role that our skilled and dedicated workforce has played in producing some of the finest vehicles on the road today," said Garberding. "Through the implementation of World Class Manufacturing, Belvidere is transforming itself to become one of the safest and most efficient assembly plants."
The Belvidere Assembly Plant currently builds the Jeep® Compass, Jeep® Patriot and Dodge Caliber.
"This is an important announcement for Chrysler Group LLC and the UAW as the company makes a major investment in an assembly plant here in the U.S., thereby maintaining good manufacturing jobs in Illinois," said General Holiefield, Vice President UAW/Chrysler Department. "This investment, along with the strong relationship between our two organizations, will contribute to the future success of Chrysler, our employees and the products we so proudly build."
Since June 2009, Chrysler Group has made significant progress toward building a successful enterprise, including;
- reporting an operating profit of $326 million for the first half of 2010;
- announcing a potential investment of $1 billion in its Sterling Heights (Mich.) Assembly plant and surrounding stamping facilities as well as its GEMA (Dundee, Mich.) facility;
- adding a second shift of production – or nearly 1,100 jobs – at its Jefferson North (Detroit) Assembly Plant;
- announcing that it would add nearly 900 jobs on a second shift at its Sterling Heights (Mich.) Assembly Plant in the first quarter of 2011;
- launching the all-new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee in May;
- committing to invest more than $343 million in its transmission facilities in Kokomo, Ind.; and
- announcing that it will invest $179 million to launch production of the 1.4-liter, 16-valve Fully Integrated Robotized Engine (FIRE) at the company's Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance (GEMA) plant in Dundee, Mich., creating more than 150 new Chrysler jobs.
About the Belvidere Assembly Plant
The Belvidere Assembly Plant was completed in 1965 and produced its first car on July 7, 1965. The product line from 1965 to 1977 included the Plymouth and Dodge two-door and four-door models, and station wagons, and the Chrysler Town & Country station wagon.
In 1977, the plant was converted to front-wheel drive production. From 1978-1987, the product lines included Plymouth Horizon and Dodge Omni.
In 1987, the plant underwent a $367 million state-of-the-art, 16-week model changeover to produce the Chrysler New Yorker and Dodge Dynasty, the company's full-size front-wheel drive four-door sedans. Two years later, the plant underwent a $72 million model changeover for production of 1990 models that included the Chrysler Imperial and New Yorker Salon.
In 1994, the plant was converted to produce the Plymouth and Dodge Neon. Production of the Dodge Neon ended in September 2005. The Dodge Caliber was launched in December 2005, followed by the Jeep Compass in May 2006 and Jeep Patriot in December 2006.
About Chrysler Group LLC
Chrysler Group LLC, formed in 2009 from a global strategic alliance with Fiat Group, produces Chrysler, Jeep®, Dodge, Ram Truck and Mopar® vehicles and products. With the resources, technology and worldwide distribution network required to compete on a global scale, the alliance builds on Chrysler's culture of innovation – first established by Walter P. Chrysler in 1925 – and Fiat's complementary technology – from a company whose heritage dates back to 1899.
Headquartered in Auburn Hills, Mich., Chrysler Group LLC's product lineup features some of the world's most recognizable vehicles, including the Chrysler 300, Jeep Wrangler and Ram Truck. Fiat will contribute world-class technology, platforms and powertrains for small- and medium-size cars, allowing Chrysler Group to offer an expanded product line including environmentally friendly vehicles.
Corporate Website: http://www.chryslergroupllc.com