FCA - KEP 17 WEB only.JPG

FCA announces their investment of $400 million to convert the ITP II plant into an engine assembly plant while also changing the name to Kokomo Engine Plant or KEP in this March 5, 2020, photo.

The Kokomo Engine Plant is set to open in October after Stellantis brought on team leaders earlier this month to help launch the facility.

Matt Jarvis, president of United Auto Workers 685, said the company chose 12 UAW team leaders to work with vendors as machines are installed at the facility, located inside the former Indiana Transmission Plant II on north Ind. 931.

He said the facility will onboard more workers leading up to the opening in October. Production will initially launch with only a first-shift workforce. The company is projecting to add a second shift in December, and then a third shift in the first quarter of 2022, Jarvis said.

The news comes as the UAW and Stellantis continue to hammer out details on a plant-launch agreement.

“We’re making pretty good progress, so hopefully we can get the contract wrapped up in the next week or two,” Jarvis said in a video posted Saturday.

He said the plant is projected to have 1,049 UAW-represented employees, including skilled trades. Stellantis has said the plant will employ in total around 1,200 workers.

The workforce will come in part from transfers that will be honored from all four plants in Kokomo that choose to move to the engine plant, Jarvis said.

The company is also phasing out the 6-speed transmission line at the Kokomo Transmission Plant, which will affect between 400 and 450 jobs, he said. Those employees could also potentially choose to be transferred to the engine plant. The 6-speed is projected to end production by mid-May.

Jarvis said it’s unknown how many new hires they might need to fill out the workforce.

The facility was first scheduled to open sometime in the first three months of this year. However, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles said in December the launch was delayed to the last quarter of this year due to the company shuttering for about 8 weeks last March due to the pandemic.

Now, the building has been cleared of the older equipment, and interior walls and offices have been removed. Old concrete on the shop floor is being broken up and removed in preparation for new concrete. Steel is being raised to add a 30,000-square-foot addition to provide more manufacturing space.

FCA confirmed last March it was renovating the 600,000-square-foot building on north Ind. 931 to manufacture the Global Medium Engine Turbo 4 (GMET4). The move marks a $400 million investment in the facility.

Once it opens, the plant will be the source of all U.S. production of the engine, which is currently being built in Termoli, Italy.

Carson Gerber can be reached at 765-854-6739, carson.gerber@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter @carsongerber1.

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Carson Gerber is a reporter for the Kokomo Tribune and can be reached at 765-854-6739, carson.gerber@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter @carsongerber1.

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