May 15, 2014
Chrysler Group Chairman and CEO Sergio Marchionne officially dedicated the company's new Tipton (Ind.) Transmission Plant, which sat idle for years, and celebrated the production launch at the facility of the fuel-efficient, 9-speed transmission.
During a ceremony at the plant, Marchionne told the audience, which included Tipton Mayor Don Havens, Tipton County Board of Commissioners President Phil Heron, UAW Local 685 President Rich Boruff, and other invited guests and employees, that Tipton is an operation that will play a vital role in creating prosperity for the company and for the surrounding communities.
Marchionne confirmed that the company would acquire the nearly 782,000-sq.-ft. facility and invest $162 million to establish an additional assembly site for the 9-speed transmission in February 2013. He also announced that up to 850 new jobs would be created by the end of 2015, subject to market conditions. Current employment at the plant is 204.
Tipton will become one of the global hubs for 9-speed transmission production. When it reaches full capacity, it will ship about 800,000 finished transmissions to Toledo, Ohio, for use in the Jeep® Cherokee® and Sterling Heights, Mich., for the Chrysler 200®, as well as to Fiat plants in Melfi, Italy; Tofus, Turkey; Pernambuco, Brazil; and China. The potential exists to expand production to other international facilities as needed.
Production of the first 9-speed transmissions began in May 2013 at Chrysler Group's Indiana Transmission Plant I (ITPI). The opening of the Tipton facility represents phase two, which means additional work for three of the company's facilities in Kokomo, Ind. Castings for the new transmission will come from Kokomo Casting; machining of the prismatic parts – housings, blocks, and heads – will be done at Kokomo Transmission; and the rotating parts – gears and crankshafts – will come from ITPI. All will be shipped to Tipton for final assembly.
Since June 2009 the company has invested more than $1.6 billion and hired more than 2,600 people in north central Indiana to produce the next-generation transmissions. In total, Chrysler Group employs more than 7,000 people in the five plants in the region.