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Back From the Abyss: Chrysler 200 Plant Defies Death

Slated to close as Chrysler went bust, Sterling Heights plant now maker’s most modern.

by on Mar.13, 2014

Fiat Chrysler is ready to begin production of the new 2015 Chrysler 200 at the Sterling Heights, Mich. plant it once planned to close.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will officially mark the start of production of the 2015 Chrysler 200 with a ceremony Friday at the company’s suburban Detroit Sterling Heights Assembly Plant. It’s the same factory the Detroit maker planned to close after emerging from bankruptcy in 2009 and now, along with the new 200 sedan, has become a critical part of Chrysler’s turnaround.

The maker – now part of the newly merged Fiat Chrysler Automobiles – is betting on the 200 to help it gain a foothold in the huge but highly competitive midsize segment where it will go up against tough competitors like the Ford Fusion and Chevrolet Malibu, as well as such imports as the Nissan Altima, Honda Accord and Toyota’s traditionally best-selling Camry.

Auto Insight!

An earlier version of the 200, launched with the help of a widely seen 2011 Super Bowl commercial featuring rapper Eminem, helped gain some traction for the midsize model – and saved the Sterling Heights plant. Chrysler’s bankruptcy plan called for permanently shutting it, any cash from the sale of the property going to the maker’s creditors. (more…)

Chrysler Won’t Kill Plant, Marchionne Tells Obama

Fiat CEO defends controversial bailout, says it created jobs.

by on Jul.30, 2010

Jefferson North, one of the few inner city plants remaining, is in a strongly Democratic district.

More than 1,500 UAW-represented employees at Chrysler Group’s Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit welcomed U.S. President Obama to the home of the all-new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee today.

The President visited the plant a little more than a year after Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy because of billions of dollars in taxpayer support as part of his mid-term election year push to sell Democratic industrial policies to angry and skeptical voters.

Turin-based Fiat with the help of taxpayer money gained control of Chrysler in the process. Sergio Marchionne is now CEO of both groups.

During the visit, Marchionne announced that the nearby suburban Sterling Heights Assembly Plant (SHAP) would not be closed, as he originally said as part of Chrysler’s post-bankruptcy business plan, but rather it would stay open beyond 2012. A second shift of about 900 workers will also be added in early 2011. To support that operation, suppliers will add nearly 500 jobs it’s estimated.

(more…)