Yesterday Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon joined Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne at the Los Pinos Toluca Assembly Plant to celebrate the production of 2012 Fiat 500.
The Mexican-built Fiat 500 will be exported to North and South American markets as well as China. The Fiat 500 is one of 16 all-new or significantly refreshed vehicles and one of two new nameplates Chrysler Group launched in 2010. Besides the Mexican government supports, Chrysler has also invested $550 million USD in this plant and created 622 jobs. By the third quarter of 2011 the Toluca plant will be exporting 120,000 vehicles.
Chrysler also builds the Ram trucks and the all-new 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine in Mexico. They have six plants and 7000 employees in that country.
2012 Fiat 500 in America will get the all-new fuel-efficient 1.4-liter MultiAir engine with eco:Drive Application, plus a six-speed automatic transmission. It also benefits from TomTom Navigation with BLUE&ME Handsfree Communication technology and seven standard air bags.
“A little more than a year ago, I promised President Calderon that I would be back to celebrate the launch of the Fiat 500 and I am pleased that I could keep that promise today,” said Marchionne. “With the assistance of the Mexican government, we have been able to prepare the Toluca Assembly Plant for production of the first Fiat, a vehicle that demonstrates the level of cooperation between our two companies and reintroduces the brand to the North American market after more than 28 years.”
“Fiat 500 production here is an important landmark because it reaffirms Chrysler’s commitment to Mexico that dates back to 1938,” said Marchionne. “Mexico is in an ideal position for production of this car. Because of its free-trade agreements with neighbors to both the north and south, it is a bridge between NAFTA and Latin America.
“And for the Mexican market, where the 500 has already been sold for several years, this marks an important shift from a vehicle imported from Europe to one that is built locally,” said Marchionne.
Chrysler Group Investments Prepare for Future Growth
In addition to the $550 million investment in Toluca, Chrysler Group has invested more than $3 billion USD in its U.S. and Canadian facilities and has made significant progress toward building a successful enterprise since June 2009, including:
- reporting an operating profit of $763 million USD for total year 2010;
- reporting the 11th consecutive month of year-over-year sales increases in the U.S. in February;
- investing nearly $1.3 billion USD into the Company’s existing transmission manufacturing facilities in Kokomo, Ind., to accommodate production of a new advanced front-wheel drive automatic transmission; increase capacity and support production of the World Engine and improve processes for the 62TE transmission program; and accommodate future production of a new highly fuel-efficient eight-speed automatic transmission;
- announcing a $600 million USD investment in its Belvidere Assembly Plant;
- confirming an investment of $850 million USD in its Sterling Heights Assembly Plant and surrounding stamping facilities;
- planning an investment of $150 million USD in its GEMA (Dundee, Mich.) facility;
- adding a second shift of production – or nearly 1,100 jobs – at its Jefferson North Assembly Plant;
- announcing an investment of $27.2 million USD in its Etobicoke Casting Plant (Toronto) to produce front and rear crossmembers for future Chrysler vehicles starting in the third quarter 2011;
- announcing that it would add nearly 900 jobs on a second shift at its Sterling Heights Assembly Plant in the first quarter of 2011;
- launching the all-new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee in May 2010;
- beginning production of the all-new Fiat 500 in December 2010;
- launching production of the all-new 2011 Dodge Durango, Chrysler 200 and Dodge Avenger in December 2010, and the 2011 Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger and Dodge Challenger in January;
- announcing in December 2009 that it will invest $179 million USD to launch production of the 1.4-liter, 16-valve Fully Integrated Robotized Engine (FIRE) at the company’s Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance (GEMA) plant in Dundee, Mich., creating more than 150 new Chrysler jobs.