Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

April 16, 2014

Chrysler CEO will headline Tipton plant opening

He'll also attend May 13 IUK commencement

Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne will preside over the grand opening of the company’s fifth north central Indiana plant, the Tipton Transmission Plant, at a ceremony May 13, company officials announced Tuesday.

In February 2013, Chrysler announced it would acquire the former Getrag plant at U.S. 31 and Ind. 28 in Tipton, and invest $162 million to establish an additional assembly site for the nine-speed transmission, creating up to 850 new jobs.

By the end of 2015, the plan is for the new plant to be at full production, on schedule to crank out 800,000 transmissions every 12 months. They’ll be sent to plants in Michigan, Ohio, Italy and Turkey initially; assembly plants in China and Brazil could be added to the receiving list in the near future.

Since taking over, Marchionne has pumped more than $5.2 billion into Chrysler, with $1.6 billion of it spent in Indiana, bringing 2,600 jobs to the state.

The Auburn Hills-based Chrysler now has 7,100 hourly employees in the Kokomo region.

Last month, Chrysler officials said they were starting the validation process for the new transmissions assembled at the plant, which involves a rigorous process of building transmissions to put through a battery of tests.

If validation goes well, officials said, the plant could start shipping transmissions by mid-May, with a goal of producing 400,000 transmissions there by year’s end.

Marchionne is also expected to speak at Indiana University Kokomo’s commencement the same day.

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