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Chrysler invests $40.5M in Dundee

Machining line to boost engine capacity, but won’t add jobs

With-the-investment-Chrysler-will-convert

With the investment, Chrysler will convert a line in Dundee to machine crankshafts, cylinder heads, and engine blocks to support Tigershark production.

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DUNDEE, Mich. — Chrysler Group LLC is putting $40.5 million into its Dundee Engine Plant to add a machining line that will make major components for one of the company’s four-cylinder engines.

The new line, announced on Wednesday, is part of a larger effort from Chrysler to boost production capacity for the four-cylinder engines that power the Dodge Dart and soon-to-launch Jeep Cherokee.

The company also said it will invest $11.5 million in its Trenton (Mich.) Engine Complex to add an assembly line for its Tigershark four-cylinder engine.

Chrysler said it would add nearly 300 new employees to the Trenton assembly line. Chrysler now employs 1,112 workers in Trenton.

No new jobs are expected in Dundee. The two-factory plant, initially operated as Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance, a venture of Chrysler, Hyundai Motor Co., and Mitsubishi Motors Corp., became the Dundee Engine Plant in January, 2012.

Workers there produce various versions of Chrysler Group’s 1.4-liter, 2.0-liter, and 2.4-liter engines.

With the investment, Chrysler will convert a line in Dundee to machine crankshafts, cylinder heads, and engine blocks to support Tigershark production at Trenton.

A Chrysler spokesman said the Dundee plant will not lose any engine production capacity as a result of the new machining line.

Officials with the local United Auto Workers union couldn't be reached for comment.

"With the growing demand for our products, we are constantly evaluating how to best meet powertrain production requirements," Brian Harlow, Chrysler vice president and head of Powertrain Manufacturing said in a statement.

"In this case, we are fortunate that we had an existing facility that could accommodate the additional capacity needs for Tigershark and one that has the know-how to support that additional production."

Chrysler has two Tigershark engines, a 2.0-liter producing 160 horsepower, and a 2.4-liter producing 184 horsepower.

The Dart is available with both engines, while the Toledo-built Cherokee will make use of the larger engine.

A company spokesman declined to say which engine version the Trenton plant will assemble.

Production on both new lines is expected to begin by the end of September.

Early this year, Chrysler cut production on the 1.4-liter engine in Dundee by eliminating a shift.

Some probationary employees lost their jobs then, but most of the approximately 60 employees were moved to other jobs in the plant.

The 1.4-liter is used in some Dodge Darts and the Fiat 500.

Contact Tyrel Linkhorn at tlinkhorn@theblade.com or 419-724-6134.

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