There was a plan to shut down Chrysler Group's Sterling Heights Assembly Plant at the end of 2012 but its fortunes have changed and now, this plant is on track to become Chrysler’s biggest in terms of output, according to Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne. It’s even possible that it will produce Alfa Romeos as well.
Alfa Romeo is set to make its comeback in the US market in 2012. The Michigan plant is where the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Avenger mid-size sedans, Chrysler's models for the industry's largest segment, are produced. These Chrysler models are being pitted against the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Ford Fusion and Chevrolet Malibu.
Marchionne attended a ceremony last Monday to announce $850 million in new investments at the plant, including a new paint shop.
At the event, Marchionne said that the plant has the infrastructure to raise volume. This February, Chrysler will add a second shift at Sterling Heights in February with 900 new workers. Currently, the Sterling Heights plant employs 1,270, including 1,158 hourly and 112 salaried employees.
Notably, the predecessor of the 200 – the Sebring – and the Avenger had a poor performance in this segment. Cerberus Capital Management, which previously owned Chrysler, had halted plans to give these cars a mid-cycle facelift.
Cerberus scheduled Sterling Heights for closure at the end of 2012. The Sterling Heights plant is located 23 miles northeast of downtown Detroit. [via autonews - sub. required]