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Chrysler to build more Rams, V6 engines

Thu, 15 Nov 2012

Chrysler Group will add a third shift next spring at its Warren Truck plant in suburban Detroit and revamp part of its Mack Engine complex in Detroit to make more Pentastar V6 engines.

The moves represent about $238 million in further investment in the Detroit area and will add 1,250 jobs, a Chrysler spokeswoman confirmed. A formal announcement is scheduled for Thursday in Detroit.

The engine production increase will ease the company's tight supply of 3.6-liter V6 engines, which power most of Chrysler's lineup of larger sedans, minivans, pickups and SUVs.

Chrysler also is set to announce a $40 million investment in a portion of the Trenton Engine plant in suburban Detroit.

Trenton builds the 3.6-liter V6. Soon, it will begin making a 3.2-liter version for the upcoming replacement of the Jeep Liberty, as well as additional inline-four Tigershark engines that are now built only in Dundee, Mich.

Chrysler said it would add the third shift at Warren Truck in the spring but didn't offer a more specific date. The third shift has been discussed since before the company debuted the re-engineered 2013 Ram pickup, which began arriving in dealerships late last month. The pickup has a new optional powertrain that pairs the 3.6-liter V6 with Chrysler's Torqueflite eight-speed transmission to deliver fuel economy of up to 18 mpg city/25 mpg highway.

Chrysler sold 238,815 Rams this year through October--a 20 percent gain over last year in an overall market that has gained 14 percent.

The Mack II plant, part of the Mack Engine complex that was idled last year, had been considered as a site for assembly of the Maserati Levante, which was to have been built alongside the Jeep Grand Cherokee at Chrysler's Jefferson North Assembly plant in Detroit. But Marchionne, also the CEO of Fiat S.p.A., revealed a new production plan on Oct. 30 that moved production of the Maserati SUV back to Italy.

By Larry P. Vellequette- Automotive News