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Chrysler to Expand Belvidere Plant

By Kevin Robinson in News on Jul 8, 2010 3:40PM

2010_7_chrysler_logo.jpg Just a year out of bankruptcy, Chrysler Group LLC is set to add 500,000 square feet to its Belvidere, Illinois plant. The space is expected to be used for a larger body shop in the plant that currently produces the Dodge Caliber. Mayor Fred Brereton says the announcement means that the plant will be both competitive, and around for awhile. "They estimated 200,000 hours of construction, so when you equate that into payroll it's going to be significant," Brereton told WTVO news.

“This signifies Chrysler’s commitment to make the plant a world-class facility,” Mark Williams, executive director of Growth Dimensions fro Chrysler told the Rockford Register Star. “That in itself betters our position to receive a long-term investment. This is a step forward, but it’s a transformation to meet the quick-to-market manufacturing process.” It is unclear if Chrysler intends to continue building the Caliber in Belvidere, although Erich Merkle, auto industry analyst and president of Autoconomy LLC told the Rockford Register Star that “They have a number of new small-car products that should be coming into that plant to replace products like the Caliber, the Compass and the Patriot, all products that have been underperforming and consequentially the plant has been underutilized.” Chrysler's Kokomo, Indiana plant will also receive a $300 million update as well.