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Obama, Biden Visit Chrysler's Kokomo, Ind., Transmission Plant

Automaker plans to invest more than $1.1 billion in the facility.

President Obama and Vice President Biden today toured Chrysler Group LLC's Indiana Transmission Plant II to highlight the automaker's recent announcements that it plans to invest more than $1.1 billion in the facility.

The investments in the Kokomo, Ind., facility will help the plant retain nearly 3,500 jobs, according to Chrysler.

The Auburn Hills, Mich.-based noted that it plans to invest $843 million in its Indiana Transmission Plants and Kokomo Casting Plant for the production of a "new advanced front-wheel drive automatic transmission" for future Chrysler vehicles.

The investment would fund the installation of equipment and special tooling to modernize the Indiana plants, extending the life of both manufacturing facilities and helping retain nearly 2,250 jobs, according to Chrysler.

"Chrysler Group will be partnering with Friedrichshafen, Germany-based ZF Group on the next-generation front-wheel drive transmission, which is making its designs and technology available to the company and its Kokomo plants," Chrysler said in a news release.

Earlier this year, Chrysler announced that it would invest $343 million in its Kokomo plants to expand capacity at the facilities and support the production of an eight-speed transmission while retaining nearly 1,200 jobs.

"Together, these investments would make the city the recipient of the largest investment in a single year in a single community, pending the Kokomo City Council's approval of Chrysler Group's tax-abatement application on Dec. 13, 2010," the company said.

Obama and Biden visited Kokomo to highlight the impact of the auto industry bailout and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Kokomo area has received more than $400 million in direct stimulus funding, including $89 million from the Department of Energy to expand manufacturing capacity at Delphi Automotive LLP, according to the White House.

"With the help of the Recovery Act and the administration's auto restructuring plan, along with smart investments by the mayor that subsequently leveraged additional private capital, Kokomo is on the rebound today," the White House said in a news release. "Unemployment is down nearly 8% to 12% as of September 2010 and the downtown has experienced significant revitalization. Kokomo is a key example of how federal government investments, when used wisely, can work together to impact an entire community."

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