In a sign that the third largest U.S. automaker's recovery from years of restructuring and a painful bankruptcy is solidifying, Chrysler unveiled plans on Jan 5. to add 1,250 jobs in Detroit.
Chrysler -- which is now owned by Italy's Fiat -- has used the Motor City as the heart of a highly successful advertising campaign with the tag line 'Imported from Detroit.' Detroit, which has been devastated by the decades-long decline of its major industry and the city government, could soon be taken over by an emergency manager appointed by the state of Michigan. The well-paid jobs will be welcome in a city with an unemployment rate of 17.1%.
"We believe that investing in Detroit is not only the right thing to do, but it is a smart thing to do as we work to write the next chapter in our shared history," said Chrysler Group chief executive Sergio Marchionne.
The bulk of the jobs will go to staff a third shift at the Jefferson North Assembly plant as Chrysler expands its Jeep Cherokee lineup to include a diesel engine option. The plant, which currently employs 2,890 people and also builds the Dodge Durango sport utility vehicle, was the first to add new hires to its rank after Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy and was also the first in Michigan to add a second shift.
Chrysler also reaffirmed its commitment to reopen its long-shuttered Conner Avenue plant to build the SRT Viper sports car, a move announced last month that will create 150 jobs. Production of the Viper will begin late this year.
"We are pleased to have Chrysler Group acknowledge the contributions of the UAW here in the Motor City by relying on our workforce to produce two of its most acclaimed vehicles," said General Holiefield, the United Auto Workers vice president for Chrysler.
"Our workers nationwide have had a rough couple of years along with the American auto industry and we are proud to be partners in building a future of success starting right here in Detroit."
Chrysler on Jan.5 reported U.S. sales jumped 26% in 2011 to 1.4 million vehicles and swung into a profit of $211 million in the 2011 third quarter.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011
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