Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Chrysler, Nissan to build trucks in Fenton

St. Louis Business Journal

Chrysler LLC and Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. announced Tuesday new agreements for the supply of products between both companies that is expected to bring increased production to Chrysler's north assembly plant in Fenton, Mo.

Under the agreement, Chrysler will manufacture a full-size pickup for Nissan at its Saltillo, Mexico, assembly plant. In order to accommodate that production, Chrysler will shift volume from Mexico to its U.S.-based pickup truck assembly plants, including the north plant in Fenton.

Auburn Hills, Mich.-based Chrysler operates two assembly plants in Fenton employing about 4,000 workers. The company's north plant manufactures Dodge Ram light- and heavy-duty pickup trucks and the south plant manufactures the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans.

Sales of the pickup in North America will start in 2011.

"I am very pleased this partnership between Chrysler and Nissan will bring more work to our St. Louis plant," Gov. Matt Blunt said in a statement. "This is a testament to the skill and devotion of the men and women who work at the Fenton Chrysler plant and it shows that the pro-jobs, pro-growth changes we have implemented are helping employers and entrepreneurs succeed in Missouri."

The companies did not specify how much more work or jobs will be brought to the Fenton assembly plant as part of this arrangement. Spokespersons for Chrysler and Blunt were not immediately available for comment.

As part of the agreement, Tokyo-based Nissan agreed to supply Chrysler with a new car based on the Nissan Versa sedan for limited distribution in South America on an Original Equipment Manufacture (OEM) basis in 2009.

Nissan will manufacture an all-new, fuel-efficient small car based on a unique Chrysler concept and design. This car will be sold in North America, Europe and other global markets in 2010, and will be manufactured at Nissan's Oppama Plant in Japan.

This latest OEM supply agreement extends a long-standing product exchange relationship between the two corporations; Nissan affiliate JATCO has supplied Chrysler with transmissions since 2004.

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