Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced Thursday it will produce an engine for the first time in Indiana. The facility will restore life to a former transmission plant in Kokomo that was idled last fall.
The $400 million investment will allow the company to move production of one of its engines for the U.S. market from Italy to Indiana.
The engine is currently an option in the Jeep Wrangler and Cherokee, but FCA North America Chief Operating Officer Mark Stewart says new technologies will make it more widely relevant to the company’s future.
FCA North America Chief Operating Officer Mark Stewart says he’s excited to expand the company’s investment in the state.
“There is no question Indiana represents a very, very, very key part in our strategy in powertrain, engine, and electrification,” says Stewart.
After previewing FCA’s announcement at his State of the State, Gov. Eric Holcomb says it demonstrates Indiana’s ability to work with companies and meet their needs.
“To have them for so many decades, generations of workers, focused on transmissions, to be able to turn and then burn on another front and start to make engines in Indiana, that was a huge statement of them acknowledging the workforce and then the pipelines, you know, the curriculum that is built to be able to staff them,” says Holcomb. “You’re either growing or dying in this uber competitive that we find ourselves in.”
The investment to repurpose an idled transmission plant was part of the agreement with the United Automobile Workers that the company invest $9 billion over the next four years.
UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada says it shows the company’s commitment to Indiana workers and why dialogue between union members and corporate leaders is important.
“But we always have to stay vigilant on that right,” says Estrada. “There’s a lot of plants leaving communities and it’s devastating them right? Fortunately FCA is investing in this community and we just gotta make sure we talk about what this means so if there’s ever a decision to leave, you know, people know the impact of that.”
FCA currently has four operating facilities in the state including casting and transmissions.
The plant is expected to be operational in the second quarter of 2021 and add about 200 jobs.
This story has been updated.