Chrysler drives in more jobs than promised - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Chrysler drives in more jobs than promised

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About 4,000 people build Cherokees and Wranglers at the Toledo Assembly Complex. As you know, the new Cherokee meant a new shift and new workers. We've learned the SUV created a lot more jobs than first expected. Chrysler more than doubled the number of jobs originally promised and it's having a huge ripple effect. Many are hoping it even means new life for the old Jeep site. Bruce Baumhower heads up UAW Local 12, the union that represents Jeep workers,"The company kept on saying it would hire 1,100 or 1,200 people but it ended up being about 2,300."

Baumhower says that doesn't include the approximately 700 others who've been hired by suppliers, "Of course we have suppliers like Kuka, Mobis and Exel right in the complex and they have all hired people. In fact, one of the companies has hired more than 100 people. Both of the local Johnson controls plants have added people." Baumhower says another 800-900 jobs could be on the way if a third shift is added to the Cherokee lines, "Chrysler has said the best utilization of its facilities is three shifts and I think we'll get there. There are other vehicles they can build on the same platform as the Cherokee, but I think the Cherokee will fill up three shifts at some point."Baumhower believes expansion is on the way for the Wrangler plant too, "We are thinking about and looking at ways to expand the Wrangler plant. Something has to happen, but that probably won't happen for a couple years." Wrangler and Cherokee production is expected to top half a million next year, which could make it the largest assembly plant in America. Baumhower hopes that helps spur development at the old Jeep site, "If a supplier is making 150,000 parts to ship here and there's a chance to make half a million of them , it might make sense to save on shipping and locate just a few miles down the street. We will use that to promote the old site."

In addition to the 3,000 new jobs tied to Cherokee, Baumhower says there are also hundreds of new jobs at auto supply companies the UAW does not represent. GM has also added about 700 jobs at its Toledo plant. Baumhower says that adds up to about 4,000 new auto jobs in the region this year.

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