Chrysler builds its payroll as it rebuilds its product line-up with models like the new 200.
Chrysler is backing up CEO Sergio Marchionne’s sweeping plans for overhauling the company’s product line-up with an infusion of new employees.
The automaker confirms it has hired nearly 1,000 employees at its Technical Center in Auburn Hills, Michigan according to executives responsible for implementation of the company’s product plans. And still more new hires are expected, according to senior Chrysler officials.
“That’s a pretty decent number,” said Chrysler spokesman Mike Palese, who confirmed the 1,000 jobs figure, adding the new employees included a mix of full-time and contract workers hired between October 2009 and October, 2010.
Senior Chrysler engineers said the company needed to add engineers and technicians to help with the overhaul of the maker’s product line, which had been neglected by the company’s old partner, Daimler AG, and then starved by its subsequent owner, the equity giant Cerberus Capital Management, which purchased the company in the summer of 2007.
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Chrysler veterans say that the maker was virtually incapable of sustaining its existing product line-up, never mind expanding or updating its offerings by the time Chrysler plunged into bankruptcy, last year. Cerberus ceded control as a result of that Chapter 11 filing, the government, in turn, turning control over to Fiat. The Italian maker currently holds a 20% stake in Chrysler, but that will grow to as much as 35% if Fiat meets a series of benchmarks, such as growing Chrysler sales overseas.