Chrysler eyes empty Indiana plant
DETROIT -- Chrysler Group wants to make parts -- probably transmissions -- at an Indiana plant finished in 2008 but never occupied because of a failed joint venture and Chrysler's trip to Bankruptcy Court.
The Tipton County council is scheduled to consider a tax abatement request from Chrysler on Tuesday, Dec. 18, for the 781,500-square-foot factory near Tipton.
The empty plant was the planned location of a joint venture between the former Chrysler LLC and German supplier Getrag. The companies had intended to make dual-clutch transmissions for Chrysler vehicles, but the venture fell apart in late 2008.
Chrysler won't say what it plans to do with the factory, which is owned by a Colorado-based real estate company, Tipton County officials said. But union sources said the company plans to make transmissions there.
Chrysler just launched its first vehicle with a dual dry clutch transmission -- the 2013 Dodge Dart -- which uses the Fiat-sourced transmission as an optional gearbox with its turbocharged 1.4-liter engine.
The $530 million joint-venture plant, about a half-hour south of Chrysler's Kokomo transmission complex, originally was scheduled to employ about 1,200 to make dual-clutch transmissions. The joint venture dissolved and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in November 2008.
After the joint venture dissolved, Abound Solar Inc. of Loveland, Colo., made plans to build solar panels at the plant. But increased foreign competition in that industry caused Abound Solar to abandon its plans this year.
The building and 106-acre property were sold in 2010 to Colorado real estate developer W.W. Reynolds for $25 million, a quarter of its original price. The property had been listed recently for a price of $39.5 million.
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