Chrysler Group plans to build transmissions at former Indiana plant

Article by Anita Panait, on December 18, 2012

Chrysler Group plans to build parts, probably gearboxes, at a plant in Indiana that was completed in 2008 but was never occupied due to a botched joint venture and Chrysler’s bankruptcy proceedings. The Tipton County council is set to consider a tax abatement request from Chrysler Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012, for the 781,500-square-foot plant near Tipton.

The empty factory was the planned site of joint venture between the former Chrysler LLC and German supplier Getrag. The firms had planned to produce dual-clutch transmissions for Chrysler vehicles, but the venture collapsed in late 2008.

According to Tipton County officials, Chrysler would not disclose its plans with the site, which is owned by a Colorado-based real estate company. Union sources told Automotive News that Chrysler plans to build transmissions in the $530-million plant.

Chrysler just introduced its first vehicle fitted with a dual dry clutch transmission, the 2013 Dodge Dart. The Dart uses the Fiat-sourced transmission as an optional gearbox with its turbocharged 1.4-liter engine. The joint venture plant is located around a half-hour south of Chrysler's Kokomo transmission complex and was initially set to hire 1,200 people to produce dual-clutch transmissions.

The joint venture dissolved and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in November 2008. Following its dissolution, bound Solar Inc. made plans to produce solar panels at the plant, but did not push through this year due to heightened foreign competition in that industry.

The building and 106-acre property were sold in 2010 to real estate developer W.W. Reynolds for $25 million, representing a quarter of its original price. The property had been listed recently for the price of $39.5 million.

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