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Published: Friday, 3/18/2005

Rudolph-Libbe to build 3 plants in Jeep park

A union-led campaign to convince DaimlerChrysler AG to pick local suppliers for its ground-breaking factory expansion project in north Toledo has scored another victory.

Rudolph-Libbe Inc., of Walbridge, has been selected as general contractor for three factories slated for the $900 million factory and supplier park complex, the car maker announced yesterday. The facility is the first of its kind in the United States, with supplier-run factories on site with an automaker's assembly plant, officials said.

It seems to be quite a coup for Rudolph-Libbe, who officials could not be reached yesterday for comment.

Bruce Baumhower, president of United Auto Workers Local 12 at Toledo Jeep who spearheaded efforts to land work and jobs for local firms at the project, also was unavailable.

The new Toledo Jeep complex and the adjacent Toledo North Assembly factory, built just four years ago, will produce a Dodge sport-utility vehicle, two versions of a re-designed Wrangler, and the Jeep Liberty. The overall investment in the project, including research developing the new vehicles, is $2.1 billion.

Work to be performed by Rudolph-Libbe will include overseeing construction of a DaimlerChrysler factory that will house trim and final assembly lines, a vehicle-body shop for Germany's Kuka Group, and a chassis factory for Ohio Module Manufacturing Co., a subsidiary of Hyundai Mobis.

Haden International Group Inc., of Michigan, which will operate a paint shop at the complex, earlier announced it had picked DeMattia Group, of Plymouth, Mich., as general contractor to build its factory, which is under construction.

"Rudolph-LIbbe was the general contractor who best met our specific criteria for quality, system cost, technology, and delivery," said Peter Rosenfeld, Chrysler's executive vice president for procurement and supply.

Construction at the complex is to be finished by year's end, with vehicle production under way next year.

Also yesterday, DaimlerChrysler revealed eight other Toledo area firms receiving some construction work at the complex.

They are: Dynamic Contracting Inc., Toledo; Fred Christen & Sons, Maumee; GEM Industrial Inc., Walbridge; Accel Fire Protection, Sylvania; Industrial Power System, Toledo; Kuhlman Concrete, Maumee; Shambaugh & Son Fire Protection, Toledo; and TTL, Toledo.

Also receiving construction contracts are Akron Rebar Kuhlman Corp., Akron, and Ghafari Associates, Dearborn, Mich.



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