Chrysler to Build Fiat 500s in Mexico

The vehicles would be produced at Toluca, one of five Chrysler plants in Mexico, and would start distribution at year end to the United States and Latin America

Mexican President Felipe Calderon announced on Feb. 8 that Chrysler Group LLC will invest $550 million in Mexico to produce Fiat 500s for the United States and Latin America.

The investment would generate 400 direct jobs and more than 1,200 indirect jobs, Calderon said at a launch ceremony at the Chrysler plant in Toluca, some 70 kilometers (40 miles) west of Mexico City.

The vehicles would be produced at Toluca, one of five Chrysler plants in Mexico, and would start distribution at year end to the United States and Latin America, Fiat chief executive officer Sergio Marchionne said.

Mexico "has an ideal position as a bridge between NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement between Mexico, the United States and Canada) and Latin America," Marchionne said.

Mexico would play a key role in the renovation of Chrysler, he added.

Chrysler formed a global strategic alliance with Italy's Fiat Group after emerging from government-backed bankruptcy last year.

The automobile industry represents 20% of Mexico's manufacturing GDP, and more than 70% of its exports go to the United States.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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