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2012-01-06 12:01

SERGIO MARCHIONNE: The boss of Fiat has announced more plans to consolidate the rescue of US automaker Chrysler. Image: AFP

DETROIT, Michigan - Chrysler, just days ahead of the Detroit international auto show, has announced it will add 1250 jobs to its plants in the Motor City.

America's third-largest automaker, now owned by Fiat, is recovering from years of restructuring and a bankruptcy and has used Detroit as the heart of a highly successful advertising campaign with the tag line 'Imported from Detroit'.


The city has been devastated financially and architecturally by the decades-long decline of its major industry and the city council could soon be taken over by an emergency manager appointed by the state of Michigan. The well-paid Chrysler jobs will be welcome in a city whose unemployment rate is at 17%.

Chrysler Group chief executive Sergio Marchionne said: "Investing in Detroit is not only the right thing to do but also a smart thing to do as we work to write the next chapter in our shared history."

Most jobs will be on a third shift at the Jefferson North plant as Chrysler expands its Jeep Cherokee range (new engines due soon in South Africa) to include a diesel option. it will also reopen its long-shuttered Conner Avenue plant to build the SRT Viper sports car.

General Holiefield, the United Auto Workers representative for Chrysler, said: "We have had a rough couple of years, along with the American auto industry, so are proud to be partners in building a future of success starting right here in Detroit."


Chrysler on Wednesday reported that its US sales jumped 26% in 2011 to 1.4 million and that the company had swung into a profit of $211-million in the 2011 third quarter.

Fiat has been steering Chrysler since it emerged from government-supported bankruptcy in June 2009, gradually building its stake through buying shares held by the US Treasury. The Italian company boosted its stake in Chrysler by five percent to 58.5% when it was announced that a fuel-efficient car would be assembled in the US.


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