Chrysler Group announced that it will spend $240 million and create 1250 jobs at engine and assembly plants in southeast Michigan. The additional production capacity will help Chrysler build more Pentastar V-6 engines and Ram 1500 pickup trucks.
The first part of the announcement concerns the Mack 1 engine plant in Detroit, which will receive $198 million and 250 new jobs in order to start building Chrysler’s 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine by early 2014. The plant currently builds the 4.7-liter V-6 engine for the Ram 1500 pickup; that engine will be phased out by early 2013 as the pickup switches to the more-efficient 3.6-liter mill. Between ditching the 4.7 and starting production of the 3.6, Mack 1 will produce crankshafts to supplement capacity at the Trenton Engine Plant.
Chrysler also will spend $40 million to open a flexible assembly line at its Trenton North plant to build both the Pentastar V-6 and the Tigershark inline-four engines for the 2013 Dodge Dart. The Tigershark is currently only built in Dundee, Michigan, so adding capacity at Trenton will help Chrysler supply more Dart engines to the market. And increasing Pentastar production is always a plus given that nearly every Chrysler product uses the V-6 engine.
Finally, Chrysler revealed that its Warren Truck Plant will add about 1000 jobs when a third shift comes online in March 2013, allowing the facility to build even more copies of the 2013 Ram 1500 pickup. Warren began building the newly redesigned pickup in September.
All of these production increases are necessary because Chrysler Group has been enjoying steady sales growth for all its products. The company’s sales through the end of October this year are up 23 percent compared to the same period in 2011.