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Chrysler to invest another $85M in Kokomo plant

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Chrysler Group LLC said Tuesday it plans to invest an additional $85 million in its Kokomo transmission plant.

The money is in addition to the recently announced $1.2 billion investment in other facilities in the north-central Indiana city.

With this announcement, the company's total investment in U.S. facilities would climb to more than $3 billion since June 2009, the company said.

Chrysler notified Kokomo city officials of the potential new investment at a city council meeting on Monday.

At the meeting, Chrysler requested the transfer of the previously approved tax abatement certificate on the announced $300 million investment from the Indiana Transmission Plant I to the Kokomo Transmission Plant to facilitate the production of the next generation eight-speed transmissions

The production of the new transmission is being moved to the Kokomo plant because the company is accelerating production and the timing worked better, said Brian Harlow, head of powertrain manufacturing for Chrysler.

The move also opens space at the Indiana Transmission plant for production of a front-wheel drive transmission announced in November.

The Kokomo City Council also approved Chrysler's tax abatement application on the $843 million investment for production of the front-wheel drive transmissions, a job that is expected to retain 2,250 jobs.

Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy protection in 2009. The company has hired as many as 6,000 workers since it came out of bankruptcy.

It has announced plans for 11 new or revamped cars by the end of this year.

Earlier this month, the company reported its November U.S. auto sales rose 17 percent on brisk Jeep and Ram sales, making it the company's eighth straight month of sales increases.

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