The automaker also has discussed producing a small Jeep-branded pickup, based on the Wrangler, that could be made in Toledo if the Wrangler plant is expanded. The information comes from long-term product plans released by both Chrysler and Fiat during the last several years.
Economists differ on estimates of the overall impact the jobs will have on the metro area's economy.
Some say that every job added at an auto plant results in between 4.7 and 10.6 jobs elsewhere in the local economy. Others argue that the true impact is smaller, citing the economic contraction that occurred when Toledo North lost its third and second shifts almost four years ago.
Whatever the impact, the announcement should provide the best chance in years to improve the situations for thousands of the region's long-term unemployed.
"The rule of thumb is for every one (automaker assembly) job, you get 1.5 supplier jobs. And between them you get 4 more jobs beyond those (automaker) and supplier jobs," said Debbie Menk, a labor specialist with the Center for Automotive Research, in Ann Arbor.
Chrysler's new investment in Toledo -- its third since 1997 -- had many midwives to help it along:
The U.S. Department of Energy is close to reviewing a $3.5 billion "loan" to Chrysler to help offset retooling its plants to make more fuel-efficient vehicles. The $25 billion loan program for automakers with U.S. plants was approved by Congress in 2007 and repays automakers for funds expended to upgrade facilities to meet increasingly strict fuel-economy standards.
Ohio is offering tax incentives and training assistance, but will not confirm details of its incentive package until the Ohio Tax Credit Authority meets later this month.
Officials of the city of Toledo and local school districts worked to facilitate expansion of the city's oldest and largest local manufacturer.
The federal government provided Chrysler with billions in loans -- since fully repaid -- in 2009 to see the then-struggling automaker through an expedited two-month bankruptcy process.
Italian automaker Fiat agreed to take over operation of Chrysler from its former owner, private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, and launched a sweeping and unprecedented product renaissance in which it refreshed or improved 16 vehicles in an 18-month period. It returned the beleaguered domestic automaker to profitability for the first time in six years.
The United Auto Workers' Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association agreed to accept stock and other securities in place of cash to settle Chrysler's outstanding retiree medical-benefits obligations, freeing the automaker's books from billions in unpaid liabilities.
Lastly, and perhaps most important, local Chrysler employees and their leadership within UAW Local 12 agreed to landmark job, pay, and work-rule concessions while increasing productivity, reducing absenteeism, and further improving performance at what had twice previously been named the most productive assembly plant in North America.
Mayor Bell said the city and local economic development teams offered Chrysler whatever assurances it needed to make the expansion happen.
"They weren't really asking for anything that they didn't already have, so we haven't really had to give up anything," Mr. Bell said. "I don't think there were any holdups in the process. I think people really came together."
U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) said Chrysler's plans for its Toledo Assembly complex, along with more than $1 billion that General Motors Co. has invested in fuel-efficient products for its Toledo Powertrain Plant, position the region "to be the center of a new green automotive industry. As Chrysler and GM reposition, that repositions [Toledo] to compete in the global economy."
She said she is confident federal, state, and local officials will "do what's necessary to keep our economy growing" with incentive packages for the project.
Chrysler's plans for its Toledo facilities have been under study since shortly after the automaker emerged from bankruptcy in June, 2009. But local elected and union officials say those plans changed many times in size and scope and were delayed repeatedly by industry and economic circumstances.
Originally, union officials said, Chrysler wanted to announce its plans for Toledo in September, 2009, but was delayed until that December while management worked feverishly on a comprehensive five-year global product and financial plan rolled out in November, 2009.
State Held Talks
When no announcement materialized by February 2010, The Blade questioned Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland at a GM event in Defiance, where he admitted that the state had been in talks with Chrysler about a Toledo expansion.
At the time, analysts believed the automaker would consolidate several "D-segment" vehicles -- the Toledo-made Jeep Liberty, the Chrysler Sebring and Sebring convertible, and the Dodge Avenger -- in Toledo while preparing to close its Sterling Heights plant in suburban Detroit.
But last October, within nine months of Mr. Marchionne telling journalists at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit that there was "no way" Sterling Heights would remain open, Chrysler purchased the plant from its former bankrupt self.
It announced an $850 million investment to improve the plant's capabilities and keep its high-volume passenger sedans in Michigan. Chrysler later added another production shift in Sterling Heights, Mich., leaving Toledo North as the only Chrysler assembly plant with just one shift.
As one of his first activities after being sworn into office in January, Ohio Gov. John Kasich became personally involved in efforts to bring additional work to Toledo's Chrysler plants.
In addition to speaking with Chrysler representatives on the phone, the Republican governor traveled to Detroit during the auto show to meet with Chrysler's top executives. That meeting included Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee, University of Toledo President Lloyd Jacobs, Mr. Manley, and Toledo Assembly complex manager Mauro Pino.
Mayor Bell said Chrysler's announcement, besides adding critically needed jobs to the local economy, likely will be a salve on Toledo's recession-bruised psyche.
"We're right now riding a pretty good wave in the city of Toledo, with all the positives that are going around in the city. When people start looking around and say, hey, this isn't too bad at all, especially when you look at how other cities have been struggling to recover," Mr. Bell said.
Contact Larry P. Vellequette at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or 419-724-6091.
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