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Chrysler hires 204 workers for new plant

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Chrysler Group LLC has hired 204 workers at a new factory in Tipton to make transmissions for its popular Jeep Cherokee sport-utility vehicle and Chrysler 200 sedan, about a quarter of the total hires planned for the facility.

The factory will employ 600 workers by the end of the year and 850 a year later, the company said. The automaker, fully acquired by Fiat SpA in January, spent $162 million to outfit the 782,000 square-foot facility to build nine-speed transmissions, which improve highway fuel efficiency. The company is using the parts in its new Cherokee and 200.

At full capacity, the plant will be able to ship about 800,000 transmissions annually to assembly plants in Toledo, Ohio, and Sterling Heights, Mich., as well as Italy, Turkey, Brazil and China, Chrysler said in a prepared statement Tuesday. Production at the plant started last month, said Jodi Tinson, a spokeswoman.

Executives last week laid out a five-year business plan that calls for $75 billion in investments to transform Jeep, Alfa Romeo and Maserati into global brands. The initiative also calls for the Chrysler brand to more than double deliveries to 800,000 by 2018. The two automakers plan to be fully integrated by the end of the year as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV with a primary listing in New York and a headquarters in London.

Global ambitions

Sergio Marchionne, CEO of both Turin, Italy-based Fiat and Auburn Hills, Mich.-based Chrysler, wants to make Fiat Chrysler big enough to compete with General Motors Co., Volkswagen AG and Toyota Motor Corp. The company is currently the seventh-largest automaker. Marchionne's plan is to boost sales to 7 million by 2018, enough to vault it at least one spot higher in the rankings, he said last week.

Investors expressed their skepticism the next day by selling Fiat shares, leading to the biggest drop in more than 2-1/2 years on May 7.

“We had a phenomenal run in 2014,” he said to reporters Tuesday during a grand opening event at the Indiana plant. “People are taking money off the table and I’m sure there are some concerns about our ability to hit our goals. But I think there is some part of the market that’s going to be doubtful, and I think we have to wait until the dust settles and people will take positions.”

The 2018 targets will benefit the company whether or not they are all reached, he said Tuesday.

‘Green Giant’

“Even if I miss it by 10 percent, from where I am today, it’s like the midget and the Jolly Green Giant,” Marchionne said, referring to a character used to advertise frozen vegetables produced by General Mills Inc. “Trying to get to 7 million cars is going to be a composite of a number of misses and a number of overachievements.

‘‘We’re never going to get all the numbers right,’’ he said. ‘‘I guarantee you. The issue is whether I get to 7 million cars and I make the money that goes with it.’’

Marchionne said the company may have to add jobs and expand Jeep production in the U.S. to meet the 2018 targets.

‘‘There’s no doubt that we’re going to have a headcount increase in North America, because I need to increase the production,” he said. “Where we do it physically and how we use the existing facilities is another answer.”

Jeep brand sales rose 52 percent to 59,754 in April, helped by the Cherokee, which already rivals Jeep’s volume models, the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee in less than a year on the market. Chrysler has increased sales in the U.S. for 49 consecutive months.

The 200 family sedan, Chrysler’s entry in the largest car segment in the U.S. market, began shipping to dealers earlier this month.

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  1. Cramer agrees...says don't buy it and sell it if you own it! Their "pay to play" cost is this issue. As long as they charge customers, they never will attain the critical mass needed to be a successful on company...Jim Cramer quote.

  2. My responses to some of the comments would include the following: 1. Our offer which included the forgiveness of debt (this is an immediate forgiveness and is not "spread over many years")represents debt that due to a reduction of interest rates in the economy arguably represents consideration together with the cash component of our offer that exceeds the $2.1 million apparently offered by another party. 2. The previous $2.1 million cash offer that was turned down by the CRC would have netted the CRC substantially less than $2.1 million. As a result even in hindsight the CRC was wise in turning down that offer. 3. With regard to "concerned Carmelite's" discussion of the previous financing Pedcor gave up $16.5 million in City debt in addition to the conveyance of the garage (appraised at $13 million)in exchange for the $22.5 million cash and debt obligations. The local media never discussed the $16.5 million in debt that we gave up which would show that we gave $29.5 million in value for the $23.5 million. 4.Pedcor would have been much happier if Brian was still operating his Deli and only made this offer as we believe that we can redevelop the building into something that will be better for the City and City Center where both Pedcor the citizens of Carmel have a large investment. Bruce Cordingley, President, Pedcor

  3. I've been looking for news on Corner Bakery, too, but there doesn't seem to be any info out there. I prefer them over Panera and Paradise so can't wait to see where they'll be!

  4. WGN actually is two channels: 1. WGN Chicago, seen only in Chicago (and parts of Canada) - this station is one of the flagship CW affiliates. 2. WGN America - a nationwide cable channel that doesn't carry any CW programming, and doesn't have local affiliates. (In addition, as WGN is owned by Tribune, just like WTTV, WTTK, and WXIN, I can't imagine they would do anything to help WISH.) In Indianapolis, CW programming is already seen on WTTV 4 and WTTK 29, and when CBS takes over those stations' main channels, the CW will move to a sub channel, such as 4.2 or 4.3 and 29.2 or 29.3. TBS is only a cable channel these days and does not affiliate with local stations. WISH could move the MyNetwork affiliation from WNDY 23 to WISH 8, but I am beginning to think they may prefer to put together their own lineup of syndicated programming instead. While much of it would be "reruns" from broadcast or cable, that's pretty much what the MyNetwork does these days anyway. So since WISH has the choice, they may want to customize their lineup by choosing programs that they feel will garner better ratings in this market.

  5. The Pedcor debt is from the CRC paying ~$23M for the Pedcor's parking garage at City Center that is apprased at $13M. Why did we pay over the top money for a private businesses parking? What did we get out of it? Pedcor got free parking for their apartment and business tenants. Pedcor now gets another building for free that taxpayers have ~$3M tied up in. This is NOT a win win for taxpayers. It is just a win for Pedcor who contributes heavily to the Friends of Jim Brainard. The campaign reports are on the Hamilton County website. http://www2.hamiltoncounty.in.gov/publicdocs/Campaign%20Finance%20Images/defaultfiles.asp?ARG1=Campaign Finance Images&ARG2=/Brainard, Jim

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