AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - Chrysler Group LLC said yesterday it will invest $300 million to update manufacturing facilities in Kokomo, Ind., where it will build new eight-speed transmissions with a German auto-parts maker starting in 2013.
The automaker said the transmissions will be more fuel-efficient than the traditional five and six-speed transmissions standard in Chrysler's vehicles.
As part of the investment, Chrysler has licensed technology and manufacturing rights from ZF Group, a German auto-parts manufacturer that also makes components for BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi.
Chrysler said the $300 million will be used to modernize and install new tooling at its Indiana Transmission Plant I and its Casting Plant, both in Kokomo.
The investment will help retain 1,200 jobs at the facilities, Chrysler said. It said the investment is the company's largest in the United States since it exited bankruptcy protection last June, and was made possible by the approval of a tax abatement from Kokomo.
The infusion of money at the Kokomo facility is the latest piece of good news for Chrysler's operations there. Last month, the automaker announced it was rehiring almost 400 laid-off workers and investing $43 million to build transmissions at its Kokomo operations.