Chrysler plant adding almost 300 new jobs

By JAMES MITCHELL
Sunday Times Newspapers

TRENTON — An announcement made by Chrysler LLC earlier this month was what city officials and residents had hoped to hear for some time, and the addition of long-awaited jobs is now a reality.

Nearly 300 new workers are expected to soon begin at Chrysler’s Trenton North factory as the auto giant expands Tigershark engine production at the plant. Trenton City Administrator Jim Wagner said the announcement — which he’d learned of from televised reports rather than from Chrysler — said the anticipated jobs are about what the city had expected.

“This is part of the ongoing discussions they’ve had about expanding,” Wagner said. “From what our sources are, this is moving forward and part of the deal they announced earlier this year.”

Trenton North ceased production in 2011 after more than 38 million engines had been built on its lines since 1958.

Production was expected to begin by the end of September. According to a company announcement on Aug. 7, Chrysler will invest $52 million at engine plants in Trenton and Dundee, with an anticipated 298 positions created at Trenton North, at which $11.5 million will go toward an additional assembly line for the four-cylinder engine. All told Chrysler anticipated adding more than 1,250 jobs in Trenton, Detroit and Warren, where a truck plant added 1,000 positions to its third shift earlier this year.

City officials said the news confirms a June 2011 announcement by the company as a potential $114 million project. Last fall the Trenton North plant was identified as the home for a $40 million investment based on both the Tigershark and Pentastar engines, and city officials passed an Industrial Facilities Tax abatement, the final hurdle to be cleared.

Wagner and Mayor Kyle Stack have said the new jobs in town reflected a revitalized foundation for Trenton, one of several high-profile projects in recent months that included the beginnings of demolition at the former Riverside Hospital complex. The nearly 300 new jobs in the community join a spurt of developer interest both in the city and seen elsewhere in Downriver communities.

“We’re pleased that we’re getting the jobs and the investment in the plant,” Wagner said.

(James Mitchell can be reached at jmitchell@bewickpublications.com.)

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