(IIB Photo/Mary-Rachel Redman)
The Kokomo facility has been in operation since 2003. (photo courtesy of FCA)
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles says its previously-announced $400 million investment in Kokomo will create nearly 200 jobs and retain 1,000 more. The automaker plans to repurpose an idled transmission plant in the Howard County city into what will now be known as the Kokomo Engine Plant. The facility will produce the GMET4 engine, which is used to power the Jeep Wrangler and Jeep Cherokee.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business Reporter Mary-Rachel Redman, FCA North America President Brad Clark said
“In 2010, the company made a decision to maintain transmission production here and the workforce has just delivered for the company and so when we looked at our global GME engine, it just made sense that this facility was available and the workforce was available to invest here,” said Clark. “I already know that we have a world-class workforce in this area so I have no doubt that this team is going to deliver.”
FCA says it is relocating the production of the engine to Kokomo from its current operations in Turmoli, Italy. Production on the engine is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2021.
“The GMET4 will be a very important engine for us as we look to deliver on the promises we made as part of our five-year plan in 2018,” Mark Stewart, chief operating officer for FCA North America, said in a news release. “While the 2.0-liter is a current engine option on the Jeep Wrangler and Cherokee models, a significant number of new technologies can be applied to this engine, making it relevant for the future. It will play an important role in our plans to offer electric engine options across 30 nameplates that FCA will bring to markets around the world by 2022.”
Stewart was joined Thursday by Governor Eric Holcomb, Kokomo Mayor Tyler Moore and representatives of the United Auto Workers union for the announcement. He said the support by the city, state and union was critical to finalizing the company’s investment plans.
“As engine technology continues to change, our focus must continue to be on our most valuable asset – our people,” Stewart said. “This engine program will bring new job opportunities for our current workforce as well as the manufacturing workforce of the future. Our employees – some of whom are second, third or even fourth generation FCA employees – have always demonstrated a passion to help deliver great products for our customers.”
The $400 million investment was first announced by Holcomb in January during his State of the State address. When the new facility is operational, it will be the first time FCA has built engines in Indiana; the company has five Hoosier locations, four of which are in Kokomo with the fifth in Tipton.
Kokomo Mayor Tyler Moore says the investment is a show a support and continued faith in the community. He says the city hopes the investment will attract more business to Howard County.
“For years, we’ve talked about the need to diversify the economy,” said Moore. “I mean, Chrysler’s been a great partner, but there is always the need to diversify. So for Chrysler to diversify within their own corporation, within their plants here in Kokomo, does open the opportunity to additional suppliers or additional investment from other companies, hopefully, to come to the area.”
The Indiana Economic Development Corp. previously announced it has offered FCA a total of more than $65 million in tax credits and training grants for the project. Some of the incentives will not be available to the company until Hoosier workers are hired for the new jobs.
FCA says it has invested more than $2 billion in Indiana since 2009.